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Game 19 Preview: Houston Rockets at Memphis Grizzlies

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Did you hear that the Rockets beat the Lakers? Well, the Grizzlies beat them too, so don't get your hopes up too much tonight.

The Rockets are 41-19 against the Grizzlies all time, dating back to the team's time in Vancouver. Last year, the Rockets won the season series 4-0. One of those games was Aaron Brooks' 7-7 three point bonanza in Houston. I wish he wasn't injured.

The Grizzlies organization isn't all that great. You didn't need me to tell you that, but there it is. The biggest idiot? Owner Michael Heisley. During the offseason, he went on the Chris Vernon radio show in Memphis and admitted that he has never read the CBA, because "I basically pay [people to understand the CBA]." Another issue was Heisley refusing to pay Xavier Henry the 120% salary that every team gives to its first round rookies. When I say every team, I mean every team.

Vernon did a great job not backing down, and he kept on the offensive. Heisley was a jerk during the entire interview. Here's a transcript from Deadspin.

ProBasketballTalk had some great analysis, too.

This isn't a discredit to the fans in Memphis. The ones who truly care (like the ones at Straight Outta Vancouver), actually care about their team and have supported them through thin and thinner: not winning a single playoff game, trading Shane Battier, and trading Pau Gasol for almost nothing.

I am so grateful the Rockets have Daryl Morey. Yeah, right now he doesn't look like the smartest guy in the world, but I know the team is in safe hands with Morey.

On to the matchups:

Matchups:

PG: Kyle Lowry vs. Mike Conley:

15/7/3/2? I never thought Conley would be that kind of point guard. He's still not worth $9 million per year, but he's at least getting closer.

Lowry is averaging 8/7/4/2. So, Memphis is paying Conley $3 million more than Rockets are paying Lowry and they are getting 7 extra points and one fewer assist.

And remember, Lowry started the year hurt and on the bench.

Advantage: Even

SG: Kevin Martin vs. Xavier Henry: 

OJ Mayo got off to a slow start to the season, so Lionel Hollins made him the sixth man to help him get through the problems. Early signs have been encouraging.

Henry is the starter. He's a rookie out of Kansas. He's not great, but he has plenty of time to get better. I expect him to be a pretty good role player in the league for years to come.

Advantage: Rockets

SF: Shane Battier vs. Rudy Gay

Rudy Gay is really good. He averages 21 points per game and is pretty streaky.

Wait for it...

But the Rockets made the right move in trading him for Battier. Brilliant move, and I'm not just saying that because Shane has outperformed Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant in the last two games.

But the fact remains: Shane has been a man possessed. So he gets the nod.

Advantage: Rockets

PF: Luis Scola vs. Zach Randolph:

Scola has not been himself for awhile. Does anyone have an explanation? I'm not saying he's been bad. In fact, he was great passing out of the double teams against the Lakers.

Maybe it's Sleepy, and maybe Scola is just a little burned out. I wouldn't be surprised. Any theories? Again, I'm not bashing the Naphthalene Argentine.

Z-Bo is averaging 17/12 if anyone cares. Ho hum. Guy totally resurrected his career, and hardly anyone has really noticed.

Advantage: Even

C: Chuck Hayes vs. Marc Gasol:

In ten years maybe, we might be talking about how Marc Gasol is better than Pau. I doubt it, but Marc has been pretty good. He sprained his left ankle early in the year and is still hobbled by it, but playing through the pain.

Advantage: Grizzlies

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Bench:

Grizz: OJ Mayo, Acie Law (questionable), Sam Young, Darrell Arthur (questionable), Hasheem Thabeet

Rockets: Ish Smith, Courtney Lee, Brad Miller, Jordan Hill, Jared Jeffries, Chase Budinger

Advantage: Rockets

Injuries:

Grizz: Law questionable, Arthur questionable

Rockets: Brooks out, Yao out

Prediction: Grizz

Rockets vs Grizzlies coverage

Straight Outta Vancouver