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James Harden leads Houston past Memphis in Iron City Showdown

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All-Star James Harden scored 20 points as Houston defeated Memphis in the BBVA Compass Iron City Showdown. (Solomon Crenshaw Jr. photos).
By Solomon Crenshaw Jr.
For The Birmingham Times

The Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex’s Legacy Arena was filled to capacity for the BBVA Compass Iron City Showdown. (Solomon Crenshaw Jr. photo, For The Birmingham Times)

All-star guards Chris Paul and James Harden scored 22 and 20 points, respectively, to lead the Houston Rockets past the Memphis Grizzlies, 131-115, on Tuesday night as the National Basketball Association returned to Birmingham for the first time in 12 years.

An announced sellout of 16,888 at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex’s Legacy Arena saw the Rockets take a 64-59 lead at intermission in the BBVA Compass Iron City Showdown. The team from Texas was up 100-84 through three quarters and the margin was nearly the same the rest of the way.

Michael Carter-Williams added 19 for Houston, Eric Gordon and Carmelo Anthony had 13 apiece while Chriss Marquese netted 11.

Former Alabama star JaMychal Green scored 9 points in 17 minutes for Memphis. (Solomon Crenshaw Jr. Photo, For The Birmingham Times)

Mike Conley led Memphis with 16 points followed by Jaren Jackson Jr. with 15 and Chandler Parsons and Kyle Anderson each with 12.