Game 67: Houston Rockets Vs. Memphis Grizzlies Preview

The Houston Rockets were riding high on a three-game win streak on their five-game road trip.

But the Charlotte Hornets sobered the Rockets up really quick as they were just too much to handle.

You can blame the old fatigue bug but that’s why you play the games and you have to give it the absolute best effort you can despite the challenges.

But the Rockets have a great chance to take advantage of a depleted Memphis Grizzlies roster.

Marc Gasol and Mario Chalmers are out for the season, with Mike Conley likely being out a month.

Zach Randolph and Vince Carter are both on-and-off the trainer’s table and they be out tonight as well.

The Grizzlies had to go out and get Lance Stephenson to help them along with D-Leaguers Ray McCallum, Alex Stepheson and Briante Weber, who is starting in Conley’s place.

The Grizz won so many games early in, that they’re still comfortably perched at No. 5 seed with a 39-27 record.

But if these guys miss any additional time, I fully expect for them to slide and it could be a great opportunity for the Rockets to get back in the fray of the higher seeds.

We’ll have to see.

So who’s leading the charge for the Grizzlies?

Mike Conley is the leading scorer (15.3 PPG) and the assist man (6.1 APG)Briante Weber is the steals king (2.00 SPG).  Zach Randolph is the team’s top board-getter (7.9 RPG) and Brandan Wright is the premier shot-blocker (1.25 BPG).

Let’s talk about what the Grizzlies do well.

The Grizzlies are extremely depleted as a result of injuries — I’ll get into specifics below — so they’re not the same team and are not doing a lot of things well.

But here’s one thing:

They take care of the basketball.  The Grizzlies are tied for 7th in the league — with the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers — as far as turnover ratio with a stingy 12.4 percent of their possessions ending in a turnover.

Injuries:

Terrence Jones did not make the five-game road trip with the Rockets as he is still recovering from an upper respiratory infection.  Now that the Rockets are back at home, he may be available.  We’ll have to see but I won’t hold my breath.  He’ll likely be ruled as QUESTIONABLE tonight.

Mike Conley has tendinitis in his Achilles’ tendon and is expected to be out for the next three to four weeks to heal.  He will be OUT tonight.

Vince Carter has been dealing with a leg injury and has missed time as a result.  He’ll likely be ruled as QUESTIONABLE.

Zach Randolph has been battling a knee injury and has missed a few games in a row.  He’ll likely be ruled as QUESTIONABLE.

Chris Andersen has suffered a shoulder injury and is OUT indefinitely.

Mario Chalmers likely has a ruptured Achilles’ tendon and has been ruled OUT for the season.

Sources:  Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle, Rob Fischer of FOX Sports Southeast, Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports, Ronald Tillery of Commercial Appeal and Zach Lowe of ESPN.com.

Three Things to Watch:

  1. James Harden vs. Tony Allen
  2. Trevor Ariza vs. Matt Barnes
  3. How much time will our bench get tonight?

Prediction:

106-92 in a Rockets’ win!

The Rockets are back at home to take on the Grizzlies at Toyota Center.

Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. CST.

The game will be televised on ROOT Sports Southwest and broadcast on SportsTalk 790 AM (KBME) and La Ranchera 850 AM (KEYH) in Spanish.

Go Rockets!