The Rockets tried just about everything they could come up with. They trapped screens, but were picked apart. They went big on Zach Randolph and were pushed around. They went small, and gave up easy buckets inside and out.

The starters were benched. The bench was outmatched. The Rockets never seemed to have a way to slow the Grizzlies offense, too strong inside and too precise outside on the way to a 17-point lead that was more than enough to beat the Rockets, 103-94, Friday for the Rockets’ fifth-consecutive loss in the FedEx Forum.

With Rockets coach Kevin McHale going with his reserves for the entire fourth quarter and almost exclusively for the final 15 minutes, the Rockets stayed in the game. They reduced the17-point lead to nine, and had three shots on a possessions including a wide-open Carlos Delfino 3 that could have cut into that.

For all its energy, however, the bench could not shoot nearly well enough to mount so large a comeback. The Rockets reserves combined to make 13 of 38 shots.

That was not much worse than the Rockets’ starting backcourt. James Harden had his second-consecutive off game since he was named player of the week, following his 6 of 24 shooting against the Pacers by making 3 of 9 shots against the Grizzlies. He was so completely bottled up by Memphis’ Tony Allen, for the first time this season, Harden did not take a free throw.