Houston Rockets at Grizzlies: 2017-18 Game 17: Five things to watch

PHOENIX, AZ - NOVEMBER 16: Chris Paul /

The Houston Rockets incredible season continues with the last stop in Music City on their two-game, four-day road trip.  With their historic mountain of points they scored in the 1st half of Thursday night’s game, what’s next for the fellas?

The Houston Rockets looked absolutely fluid with Chris Paul returning back to the lineup for the first time in nearly a month.  He made the most amount of impact in the 20 minutes that he had an opportunity to showcase his innate play-making abilities.

James Harden continued his intense scoring rampage, averaging 31.8 points, 10.1 assists and 4.8 rebounds off 45 percent from the field and 86 percent from the free throw line.  Did I also mention that he’s shooting 39.8 percent from three?

All of these numbers are at or near career-highs so I’m positive that he’s got a bad taste in his mouth for being runner-up the MVP award last season.  The campaign he’s putting it together so far is going to make difficult for voters not to swing his way despite the apparent disdain they have for him.

But anyway, the Rockets will take on the 7-7 Memphis Grizzlies tonight, a team dealing with a myriad of injuries, including a major one to their floor general in Mike Conley.  This will still be a somewhat competitive game that they should win with breaking a minimal amount of sweat exasperated.  Then they’ll return home to be around for Thanksgiving week with a few games on the docket.

1.) So who’s leading the charge for the Grizzlies?

Marc Gasol leads the team in scoring (20.1 PPG), rebounds (9.3 RPG) and is the top shot-blocker (1.9 BPG). Mike Conley leads the assistance of deliveries (6.8 APG) and Dillon Brooks is chief larceny strategist (1.2 SPG).

2.) Let’s talk about what the Grizzlies do well.

They still remain a dominant defensive-minded team.  The Grizzlies are ranked 9th in defensive efficiency, allowing 102.8 points per 100 possessions.

They’re deliberate in making sure the basketball is taken care of.  The Grizzlies are ranked 5th in turnover ratio, with 13.2 percent of their possessions ending in a turnover.

They’re decent all-around shooters.  The Grizzlies are ranked 12th in true shooting percentage (55.9).

3.) Injuries:

Chris Paul has now returned back to the lineup, fully-recovered from a bruised knee that he suffered earlier in the season.  He had 11 points, 10 assists, four rebounds and two steals —

More from House of Houston

including going 3-for-7 FG and 2-for-4 from behind-the-arc — in 20 minutes of action in the Rockets 142-116 rout of the Phoenix Suns Thursday night.  At this moment, Paul will be limited to just 20 minutes per game to test his knee and get back up to speed.

Paul had been dealing with this injury since Oct. 11, when he bumped knees with guard Mario Chalmers in some preseason action.  Ironically, they’ll be facing each other tonight, they’ll need to watch out for each other!

Luc Mbah a Moute has been dealing with an illness and was scratched from Thursday’s match with the Suns.  There is a possibility he might be available tonight and I’d likely deem him as PROBABLE but will be a game-time decision.

Mike Conley has been reeling from a sore left Achilles’ injury that has held him out a few games thus far.  He has been ruled out indefinitely but will be re-evaluated in two weeks after treatment.  Not having Conley around is a significant blow to their offensive/defensive sets but they’ll survive without him.  Chalmers will have to hold things down while he’s out.

Source(s): Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle and Peter Edminston of the Memphis Commerical Appeal

4.) Matchups to Watch:

  1. Chris Paul/Eric Gordon vs. Mario Chalmers
  2. Clint Capela vs. Marc Gasol
  3. James Harden vs. Tyreke Evans

Next: THREE Reasons why there's hate for James Harden

5.) Prediction:

107-94 in a Houston Rockets’ win!

The Rockets are on the road to take on the Grizzlies at FedEx Forum.

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

The game will be televised on AT&T SportsNet Southwest and broadcast on SportsTalk 790 AM, Sirius/XM/SiriusXM Internet 890 and La Ranchera 101.7 FM (KNTE) & 850 AM (KEYH) in Spanish.

Go Rockets.