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Houston Rockets vs. Memphis Grizzlies game preview

The Rockets hope that a return to Toyota Center can get them back to their winning ways

NBA: Houston Rockets at Memphis Grizzlies
None of these players will suit up for the Grizzlies tonight
Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

“Well, that was a fun road trip,” he said, lying.

The Houston Rockets return from California with three losses in four days. Especially disappointing is that those losses came after a six-game winning streak that was starting to give Rockets fans hope for the immediate future as well as beyond.

Now, the Rockets have come back down to earth a bit and must refocus themselves. As we mentioned on Monday, that elusive first road win for the Rockets may take a month to come, so in the meantime Houston needs to remain tenacious on their home floor.

The visiting Memphis Grizzlies offer an olive branch. No team is more banged up at the moment. In a perfectly healthy world where people make good decisions, the Grizzlies would be starting a lineup of Ja Morant, Marcus Smart, Desmond Bane, Jaren Jackson Jr., and Steven Adams. Coming off the bench would be Derrick Rose, Luke Kennard, Xavier Tillman, and Brandon Clarke. At the moment, only Bane and JJJ are fully available, though Rose is likely for tonight. It’s obvious that Memphis expected to be good again this year, and they figured Smart could help bridge the gap during Morant’s suspension. However, they now have to be thinking about punting on the season. Can they? Morant’s good enough to get them to 25-30 wins on his own, and Smart, Kennard, and Tillman will definitely be back this season. For now, Memphis will have to be content to try to hang around the playoff picture and steal games where they can.

If the Rockets are serious about being a playoff team, this is the sort of game they have to win.

Tip-off

7pm CT

How to Watch

Space City Home Network

Injuries/Other

Rockets

Amen Thompson-OUT (ankle)

Tari Eason-GTD (leg)

Grizzlies

Marcus Smary-OUT (foot)

Derrick Rose-GTD (knee)

Luke Kennard-OUT (knee)

Xavier Tillman-OUT (knee)

Ja Morant-OUT (suspension)

Steven Adams-OUT (knee)

Brandon Clarke-OUT (Achille)

Looking ahead because we can

Friday at home against the Nuggets