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Rockets vs. Grizzlies game preview: right back where we started from

Houston Rockets v Memphis Grizzlies Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images

The last game that Christian Wood played this season: February 4 against the Memphis Grizzlies.

The last time that the Houston Rockets won a game: February 4 against the Memphis Grizzlies.

That’s clearly not coincidence. A coincidence is when a confluence of events happen at the same time. No, the Rockets are losing games via a direct effect of not having Wood available. Houston is on a 10-game losing streak, and Wood won’t be back tonight.

Tonight is the start of a back-to-back, and the Rockets have generally played those pretty consistently. John Wall sits one game and Victor Oladipo sits the other. That way the Rockets are completely devoid of scorers and neither player is forced to play more often than the training staff deems possible. And in a season where the Rockets are clearly outside of the playoff picture, the health of those players is paramount. An Oladipo injury could be disastrous for the guard, as he’s a free agent next year and probably looking for a big payday. It would also be terrible for Houston since the Rockets are almost assuredly actively shopping Oladipo as the trade deadline approaches. The Rockets wouldn’t mind the salary cap flexibility if Vic walks, but they probably want the chance to get assets since the cap space isn’t going to be spent on a difference maker this summer.

Memphis is sitting in tenth place in the West and are experiencing an uneven season. At 14-15, they’re probably behind where they wanted to be after last year’s success. Still, injuries have had their way with the team so it’s not fair to toss them too much blame. Most recently, the Grizzlies split a two-game series with the Los Angeles Clippers in which each team blew out the other once. There wasn’t much of a difference in rosters for the two games, with the only difference being that Justise Winslow (of St. John’s School in Houston) didn’t play in the loss and De’Anthony Melton played more minutes as a result.

Tip-off is at 7pm CT on AT&T SportsNet Southwest