This Grizzlies team is very different from the one we saw earlier in the year. Mike Conley was hurt, and Zach Randolph was healthy. The Grizzlies won that game.
Now, Randolph is out and Conley is back. Marreese Speights is the power forward for the Grizz now, who are 14-14 and 9-5 at home. They are coming off a 98-88 defeat in Memphis against the Jazz where they turned the ball over 18 times and got very little bench production outside of Dante Cunningham.
Again, it's a winnable road game for the Rockets. Granted, when we started the road trip I thought the winnable games were Minnesota and Golden State. Oddly enough, those are the games we have lost. So hopefully the trend continues and we beat the last team that I thought would beat us on this road trip.
A big problem for the Rockets tonight will be getting their turnover troubles under control. Not just because we have to stop turning the ball over, but because Memphis thrives on turnovers. They lead the league in steals per game and opponents' turnover rate. They're a ball-hawking team with several athletes. They are also very long and good at getting deflections, so the passing has to be especially crisp if the Rockets are going to escape the Bear Cave with a win.
The Rockets can go a respectable 4-2 on this road trip with a win tonight. Time to go get it.
Obligatory video of the day, and it's relevant because golf is starting and March Madness is just around the corner:
How to Make Golf Exciting (via slatester)
Tip is at 7pm CST.
Matchups after the jump.
PG: Kyle Lowry vs. Mike Conley:
As Conley goes, so do the Grizzlies. In their wins, he's averaging 15/8 and shooting 48%.
In their losses, he's averaging 11/6 and shooting 36%. It's almost like there's a correlation there.
SG: Kevin Martin vs. Tony Allen:
I like to think I will go on a date with a model on Valentine's Day one year. I also realize that the chances are low.
I would like to think that Martin figured it out in Oakland. I also realize that the chances are low. And Tony Allen is guarding him.
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.
PF: Luis Scola vs. Marreese Speights:
Gotta be Scola here. Can you tell when I don't have time to do a complete preview and so I just say stuff like "Gotta be Scola?"
Yeah, I bet you can.
But in reality he is the better player, and he's becoming more aggressive cutting to the basket, which I like.
C: Samuel Dalembert vs. Marc Gasol:
Marc Gasol: 15/10. All-star. Spanish. Rockets' third choice for a big man last offseason.
Samuel Dalembert: 8/8. Very capable starter. Haitian.* Rockets fourth (or fifth) choice for a big man last offseason.
*Race was not taken into account in looking for the advantage. It was just mentioned randomly.
Grizzlies: Dante Cunningham, O.J. Mayo, Quincy Pondexter, Jeremy Pargo, Hamed Haddadi
Rockets: Chase Budinger, Patrick Patterson, Jordan Hill, Courtney Lee, Goran Dragic
Grizzlies: Zach Randolph out
Prediction: Grizzlies 100-93
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