Keys for the Houston Rockets in Monday’s matchup with the Memphis Grizzlies:
No Marc Gasol, No Fights
With Marc Gasol out after suffering a MCL sprain, there won’t be a chance to see a Gasol/Dwight Howard fight that could have taken place when both teams met in the pre-season.
All jokes aside, with Gasol out, Dwight Howard should be able to find a rhythm in the low post, or in the pick-and-roll. Kosta Koufos is still a starting-caliber center in the NBA, but the Rockets should exploit the pick-and-roll offensively in the half-court, as Gasol ranks among the league’s best pick-and-roll defenders.
There couldn’t be a bigger dichotomy in the league than these two in terms of offensive tempo and style. The Grizzlies, who grind it out on defense, and look to feed the ball in the low post to Zach Randolph on offense, will look to slow the pace. On the other hand, the Rockets will continue to look to run every chance they get even without the absence of James Harden, which brings up the last point.
No Harden, No Problem?
In the 2 previous games that Harden has missed this season, someone else has stepped up. Against the Sixers two weeks ago, it was Jeremy Lin who filled in, scoring 34 points. Against the Wolves on Saturday, Aaron Brooks scored a season-high 26 points off the bench. Lin had a solid outing as well, starting in place of Harden with 19 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists. If those two can’t be as effective as they were, then someone else off the bench will need to step up.
Tip: 7 PM CST
TV: CSN Houston