Houston Rockets vs Memphis Grizzlies Preview

By Michael Ma

Dec 26, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets shooting guard James Harden (13) controls the ball during the fourth quarter as Memphis Grizzlies power forward James Johnson (3) defends at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Keys for the Houston Rockets as they begin a back-to-back home and home matchup against the Memphis Grizzlies Friday night.

Injury Update

Once again, Terrence Jones is questionable to play and will most likely be a game time decision. Jones has missed the last two games after erupting for a career high 36 points Saturday night against the Bucks. Backup centers Omer Asik and Greg Smith are ruled out. On the other hand, Grizzlies guard Tony Allen is listed as day-to-day with a wrist injury. The Rockets would catch a big break if he is unable to go, as he has had success defending James Harden recently.

Battle Down Low

Marc Gasol has returned for the Grizzlies, and while he’s still slowly re-gaining his form, Memphis is 3-1 since he came back. The game plan is back to slowing the game down, and feeding either Gasol or Zach Randolph down low. It’s vital that Dwight Howard not only has a big game, to make up for his 2 point outing in the last matchup, but also to stay out of foul trouble, as the Rockets will be thin on the front line. Should Jones not be able to go, then Donatas Motiejunas and Omri Casspi will be the only other options.

Streaking Rockets

The Rockets have been the hottest team in the NBA since the calender turned to 2014, winning 8 of the 10 games. They’ve also won the last 4 games against the southwest division, and have a chance to make that 8 in the next week after the 2 games with the Grizzlies, and then another back-to-back against the San Antonio Spurs and Dallas Mavericks. Both Howard and Harden should be playing with a chip on their shoulder as neither was elected as a starter for the All-Star game.

Tip: 7 PM CT

TV: CSN Houston