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Houston Rockets vs Memphis Grizzlies game preview

Ja Morant and his surging Grizzlies take a trip to the Toyota Center

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

Ja Morant notoriously grew up as a Houston Rockets fan. Could he possibly go a little easy on his favorite team tonight?

It’s unlikely. If anything, Morant will probably have a little extra pep in his step in the arena he grew up fantasizing about playing in.

Either way, Morant would have to have a pretty off night for his Grizzlies to drop this contest against the Rockets. At 43-21, the Grizzlies are this year’s Cinderella story. They’re a surprisingly stout third in the Western Conference.

If you’re reading this, you probably know the Rockets haven’t fared as well. At 15-48, they now own the worst record in the league.

If you’re a glass-half-full type, that means the best lottery odds. It’s unlikely the Rockets will compromise those chances in tonight’s game. The Grizzlies are favored by 11.5 points in tonight’s game, according to the good people at DraftKings.

The Grizzlies may be fueled by Morant’s relentless rim pressure, but they do the little things that lead to wins as well. This team leads the NBA in contested rebounds per game at 17.1. They’ll look to decide this game on the glass, as the Rockets rank 24th in the same category (13.2).

After a torrid stretch of basketball, the Grizzlies have cooled off a little of late. They’ve dropped three of their last five contests. Any complaints made to Rockets fans will fall on deaf ears: they’ve dropped their last 12.

There’s a silver lining in Space City. Jalen Green has been finding his footing since early February after a rough start to his rookie campaign.

That provides hope for the Rockets’ future. If anything, they should be paying close attention to the Grizzlies tonight: if they can find themselves in the same position in two or three seasons, they’ll be in good shape.

As far as 2021-22 is concerned, these teams are on opposite ends of the spectrum. The Grizzlies post a 4.2 net rating, good for sixth in the league. The Rockets’ -9.2 rating finds them dead last.

The Rockets will probably lose their 13th game in a row tonight. Fans of this squad should keep their lottery odds in mind before they lament their bad luck.

Tip-off is at 5 pm CT on AT&T SportsNet Southwest

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