Wafer, signed by the Rockets on Sept. 29, and Strawberry, picked up in a trade with Phoenix Aug. 25, combined to make all seven of their 3-point attempts in the final period, erasing Memphis' three-point lead with 1:43 left. For the night, Houston was 18-of-29 (62 percent) from 3-point range.
"This was an opportunity to show coaches, not only of this team, but every other team, what we can do," Strawberry said. "We're fighting for roster spots. We've just got to prove what we can do out there on the court."
Wafer's seven 3-pointers were the most in the NBA preseason. The 18 3-pointers surpassed the most ever made by the Rockets in a regular-season game. The franchise record is 17, done twice, against Milwaukee on Dec. 22, 2001, and against Toronto on March, 25, 1999.
"This is the best I've felt in a while, but I still need to get my legs under me," said Wafer, entering his fourth season out of Florida State. "I have to tip my hat to D.J. He really helped me out when I started to press myself. He told me to just play like I did in college and just play ball."
"I thought it was a great effort by us," Memphis coach Marc Iavaroni said. "Obviously, we had a chance to win the game, despite being down 42 points on 3s, but we battled."
The game was a return home for Rockets rookie Joey Dorsey, who played at the University of Memphis and was the 33rd pick in the 2008 draft. Dorsey started at center in place of Yao Ming, who was dressed and available to play, but sat out. Dorsey finished with five points and eight assists in 16 minutes.
Tracy McGrady, who has played in only one game for 12 minutes during the preseason, was not available, and Houston forward Shane Battier, who is out with left foot inflammation, didn't dress.
The Grizzlies, meanwhile, started 7-footers Milicic and Marc Gasol on the front line with Gay for the third consecutive game.
Both teams went mostly with reserves in the fourth, giving coaches an opportunity to see players who would not normally get late-game chances. Wafer and Strawberry made the most of their opportunities.
"We shot 30-something from 2s and 62 percent from 3s," Houston coach Rick Adelman said. "Those two guys (Wafer and Strawberry) really played well and made some big shots."
Memphis led by nine early, but both teams were connecting from 3-point range in the first half, to offset poor ball handling. The Rockets led by as many as six points in the first half but went into intermission up 50-48. The Rockets connected on eight of 12 shots from 3-point range.
Houston continued to shoot well from outside in the early stages of the third period. But Memphis was getting out on the break. The combination left the two teams close, and Warrick's two free throws in the closing seconds of the period provided the Grizzlies with a 73-71 lead entering the fourth.
But Memphis was unable to hold onto the lead as Wafer scored on a pair of 3-pointers and a 21-foot jumper in the first 2 minutes of the fourth.
"It?s all a learning experience," Conley said. "We've got to learn to win those types of games because we're going to be put in a lot of situations like that in the regular season. This was a good test for us."