Rockets Take On Grizzlies In Game With Lots Of Implications

Marc Gasol takes part in a tea party with three lovely ladies at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis.

As the Rockets are quickly realizing that injuries may derail their season, the Grizzlies present a different side of the spectrum. Rudy Gay is back. So is Zach Randolph, though he's coming off the bench for now. Marc Gasol has a sprained ankle, but that's nothing that won't heal up in time for the important games.

The Rockets are 27-24. The Grizzlies are 27-21. The Grizzlies lead the season series 2-1. The home team has won all three games.

The West has been packed tightly all year. Tiebreakers could very well come into play when the season comes to a close. Realize that the Rockets have 15 games left, so there isn't much time to make up ground.

Saying "every game is important" sounds stupid, especially after what happened in the BCS this year. And you guys know how much I hate cliches. And for the last two years, I've ended the year with a string of "This is a must-win" or "We have to win this one."

Well forget it. We don't have to win this one. If we don't want to make the playoffs.

As for the picture I'm using: The Grizzlies went to St. Jude last week to interact and whatnot with the patients there. As someone who plans on entering the field of medicine and as someone who loves kids, these pictures just tickled me silly. I know the NBA requires teams to do community work and make appearances at functions like this. And even if the players half-ass it it makes a world of difference to the kids or at-needs individuals. But looking at these pictures (available on the Grizzlies team site), it really looks like the Grizzlies are enjoying their time there. And the kids seem to be having a blast too. Good for them, and good for the NBA.

Tip is at 7pm CST.

Matchups after the jump.

Matchups:

PG: Goran Dragic vs. Mike Conley:

As Conley goes, so do the Grizzlies. In their wins, he's averaging 15/8 and shooting 47%.

In their losses, he's averaging 11/6 and shooting 37%. It's almost like there's a correlation there.

Almost.

Advantage: Even

SG: Courtney Lee vs. Tony Allen:

I didn't think Tony Allen would ever be very good. I was wrong.

However he's playing a younger version of himself today with a better offensive game.

Advantage: Rockets

SF: Chandler Parsons vs. Rudy Gay:

The most consistent player for the Rockets this year has been a rookie. Yeah, that's for real.

The guy averaging 19/7 plays for the other team, though. Once more it's another test for Chandler "Shut Down" Parsons.

Advantage: Grizzlies

PF: Luis Scola vs. Dante Cunningham:

Since Zach Randolph is coming off the bench and Marc Gasol is day-to-day, Dante Cunningham is likely to start here if Gasol doesn't dress.

I expect Scola to win that matchup.

If Gasol plays, then Speights slides down to the 4 and Gasol moves to the five.

I still expect Scola to win that matchup.

Advantage: Rockets

C: Samuel Dalembert vs. Marreese Speights:

So here will either be Speights or Gasol.

If it's Speights, then I'm going with Dalembert for the advantage.

If it's Gasol, the Grizz get it.

Advantage: Rockets/Grizzlies

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Bench/Role Players:

Grizzlies: Zach Randolph, O.J. Mayo, Quincy Pondexter, Jeremy Pargo, Hamed Haddadi

Rockets: Chase Budinger, Patrick Patterson, Marcus Camby, Earl Boykins

Advantage: Even

Injuries/Inactives:

Grizzlies: Marc Gasol day-to-day (sprained ankle)

Rockets: Lowry out, Martin out probably

Prediction: Grizzlies 100-93

Make sure you get in on TCWHRO's prediction fantasy basketball game. Details here. Just make your predictions in the comments, and maybe explain how you came to that conclusion so we have something to talk about.

Grizzlies vs Rockets coverage

Straight Outta Vancouver

3 Shades of Blue

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