Despite the fact that tonight marks the first matchup between the Houston Rockets and Memphis Grizzlies this season, it’s not far-fetched to say that Rockets fans know plenty about the Grizz.
For weeks as the Rockets got off to a hot start and won games in convincing fashion, the Grizzlies kept finding ways to win despite injuries and personal matters. By my count, the Grizz have 12 wins decided by 5 or fewer points or games that went to overtime. They have lost two such games. Additionally, they had a recent 6-game winning streak in which 5 games met that criteria.
Memphis has dealt with a vertebral fracture for Mike Conley, Zach Randolph taking a leave of absence after the passing of his mother, and Chandler Parsons’ body doing its impression of Samuel L. Jackson in Unbreakable. Yet despite these injuries, they continued to find ways to win. Their scheduled eased up at the perfect time, but they also destroyed Golden State during that stretch. If our Twitter mentions were accurate, plenty of Rockets fans lamented the fact that Memphis wouldn’t let Houston pull away in the race for the 4 seed.
Well, Memphis is healthy again, just in time to play the Rockets! Hooray!
Anyway, the Rockets face a stiff test tonight at the FedEx Forum. The Grizz knocked off the Pistons in Detroit to stop a 3-game slide. Marc Gasol hit 20 of the 15 shots he took (actually went 14-17, but you get the point) for 38 points. JaMychal Green had 10 points. That’s it for double-figure scorers for the Grizz.
Anyway, it’s hard to see a path forward for Houston tonight. Nene is going to be busy trying to defend Gasol, and Montrezl Harrell will have fun with Z-Bo, who will undoubtedly bully him down low all night.
Normally, I put Marc Cohn’s classic song “Walking in Memphis” here. But I figured I would change it up a bit.
Tip-off is at 7pm CT.