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Houston Rockets Game Day: Harden Back For Division Battle

By Tamberlyn Richardson
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Houston Rockets Game Day: Harden Back For Division Battle:

Memphis Grizzlies vs Houston Rockets

Wed Mar 4, 8:00 PM EST – CSNH, SPSO, RTSW, C+D

Toyota Center – Houston, TX

Recent Matchups:

Dec 27 HOU 117-111 MEM       Dec 4 MEM 96-105 HOU

Nov 18 HOU 93-119 MEM     Oct 10 MEM 93-113 HOU

Jan 26HOU 81-99 MEM

Record:

Memphis: 42-17, last ten: 5-5, Western Conference 2nd, Southwest 1st

Houston: Record: 41-19, last ten: 6-4, Western Conference 3rd, Southwest 2nd

Latest Results:

Memphis:

Mar 4 UTA 93-82 MEM

Mar 1 MEM 101-97 MIN

Feb 28 LAC 97-79 MEM

Feb 26 MEM 90-102 SAC

Feb 24 MEM 90-87 LAC

Houston:

Mar 4 HOU 96-104 ATL

Mar 1 CLE 103-105 HOU

Feb 28 BKN 98-102 HOU

Feb 26 LAC 105-110 HOU

Feb 24 MIN 102-113 HOU

Stats:

Offense:

Grizzlies: Rank 11h – 103.6

Rockets: Rank 14th- 103.4

Defense:

Grizzlies:  Rank 7th holding teams to 100.2 points per game

Rockets: Rank TIED for 3rd holding teams to 99.8 points per game

Net:

Grizzlies: Rank 9th with positive +3.4

Rockets: Rank eighth with positive +3.6

Points:

Grizzlies: 17th

Rockets: 6th

Rebounds:

Grizzlies: 19th

Rockets: 15th

Assists:

Grizzlies: 13th

Rockets: 10th

Opponent Points Per Game

Grizzlies: 1st

Rockets: 16th

Pace:

Memphis: rank 26th with 94.24 per 48 minutes

Houston: ranks 3rd with 99.04 points per 48 minutes

Walking Wounded:

Grizzlies:

Rockets:

  • Kostas Papanikolaou missed Friday, Sunday and Tuesday’s game with Brooklyn and remains day to day with an ankle sprain
  • Dwight Howard continues his off court training  of swimming, weight lifting and tread mill running (projected to miss 6-8 weeks)

Dec 26, 2014; Memphis, TN, USA; Houston Rockets guard Corey Brewer (33) guards Memphis Grizzlies guard Mike Conley (11) during the game at FedExForum. Houston Rockets beat Memphis Grizzlies 117 – 111. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Bench Mob:

Defensive Efficiency:

Memphis: rank 14th with a positive +0.3 last ten: 13th positive +3.1

Houston: rank 24th negative -6.5  last ten: 7th positive +5.4

Efficiency:

Memphis: rank 15th with 36.8, last ten: 20th – 34.1

Houston: rank 28th with 31.4  last ten: 13th – 39.7

Points Per Game:

Memphis:: rank 20th with 31.3 points per game, last ten: 25th – 28.5 ppg

Houston: rank 25th with 29.0 points per game, last ten: 11th – 36.6ppg

Thought their season totals have Memphis boasting the better stats and ranking, since the addition of Corey Brewer and Josh Smith as well as the return of Terrence Jones the bench has seen a steady upward climb both offensively and defensively.

Key Match-up:

Obviously it’s the big 3 for the Grizzlies the Rockets will need to contend with Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph and Mike Conley. Houston should pick one of them as their poison and try to shut down the other two. Ideally Mike Conley is the primary player they look to limit given he is the distributor. The secondary (though some would dispute the key player to control) is Marc Gasol who is arguably the best passing big in the business.

For Houston, James Harden will be chomping at the bit following his one game suspension for “the kick” SIDE NOTE: interestingly the fight between Alex Len and Hassan Whiteside DID NOT end up getting suspensions, but after LeBron James whined in the post game interviews interestingly Harden was suspended. (NOTE: If you think I’m being harsh, check out the video below for the two guys who didn’t get suspensions!) Too bad we don’t play Cleveland again this season! Look for Harden to be amped up to play this game especially given their winning streak ended last night in Atlanta after they led for most of the game.

Grizzlie Leaders

  • Marc Gasol 18.2 points per game
  • Zach Randolph 11.7 rebounds per game
  • Mike Conley 5.3 assists per game
  • Marc Gasol 1.7 blocks per game
  • Tony Allen 1.9 steals per game

Rocket Leaders:

  • James Harden 27.1 points per game
  • Dwight Howard 11 rebounds per game
  • James Harden 6.9 assists per game
  • Terrence Jones 19 blocks per game
  • James Harden 1.9 steals per game

Keys to Winning:

  • Slow the production of Conley and his ability to enter the paint
  • Push the ball in transition and set the pace, Houston needs to take advantage of that speed.
  • Control the ball and keep turnovers down.
  • Use the bench head band boys to build or maintain a lead
  • Utilize your advantage: Houston first in 3-point attempts (33.9) and makes (11.8) versus Memphis 29th in attempts (15.3) and makes (5.1)


The Pick:

The odds makers favor Houston by 3 which makes sense given the game is in Houston and Harden is well rested. As per usual expect a battle and let’s hope Harden makes a statement about what he thought about having to sit a game just because someone’s nose was out of joint over his family jewels!

Next: Who has the power in week 17?

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