Memphis arrive in H-Town with almost 2 line-ups worth of players injured as they’ll face the Houston Rockets in the final game of the regular season series. SCS Game Day Preview breaks down the match.
Entering the game the Grizzlies sit in fifth place in the Western Conference but have so many core players out there perch which was viewed as untouchable just days ago suddenly seems within reach. While six games is a lot with just a month left to play the Mavericks 5 game losing streak and fall to eighth proves how vulnerable a team can be if they go on an extended losing streak.
Marc Gasol and Mario Chalmers are lost for the season, but now Mike Conley will also miss 3 to 4 weeks and Zach Randolf is nursing a sore knee. Other than Tony Allen virtually every key starter and reserve is injured!
Factor in the strength of schedule Memphis is due to undergo in the final month of the season is horrid and anything is possible. The first step however is winning tonight’s match because it serves as almost grabbing two wins given the teams are in the same division.
Venue: Toyota Center, Houston, Texas
Game Time: 8:00 PM EST – 7:00 PM CT
TV: ROOT in Houston and Fox Sports Southeast
Radio: 790 AM and WMFS
- Lance Stephenson – wrist, questionable
- Vince Carter -calf, questionable
- Zach Randolph -knee, out Monday
- Mike Conley – Achilles tendonitis, will miss 3 to 4 weeks
- Chris “Birdman” Andersen is out indefinitely with a shoulder subluxation
- Brandan Wright -knee injury, out indefinitely
- Marc Gasol – fractured right foot, out for the season
- Mario Chalmers -ruptured Achilles Tendon, out for season
- Jordan Adams – knee, likely out for season
The fact Stephenson has been added to the list of unlikely starters is making the task of pulling together a proposed starting line-up a bit of joke let alone finding a list of reserves. I’ll give it the old college try, but don’t hold me to it.
Keys To Winning
Push the pace, get out in transition: Normally I’d say this would be the key advantage, but with so many youngsters filling in for the reserves will this version of the Grizzlies be quicker?
Defense is key: With all the reserves and D-League athletes suiting up it is essential the Rockets lock down defensively to throw off what is an unfamiliar crew on the court
Constant Attack: Without their core players in the game versus the Hawks this mish mash of Grizzlies had a hard time stopping the offense. So the Rockets need to take their top 10 offense and take it to the Grizzlies
Control the ball and keep turnovers down.
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The odds makers have the Rockets as heavy favorites by 11.5 points with an over -under of 208.5 points and heavy action on Memphis to cover the spread.
The Eastern road trip was the first time this season I actually began to trust that Houston could find a semblance of the team they were last season. The victories over Toronto and Boston were huge and should serve to be confidence builders for the Rockets. Crazily Michael Beasley has stepped straight into the rotation and is contributing. Will he become another Josh Smith who does this for a couple games and then disappears or can he become a vital consistent producer. The answer to that question may determine exactly how high the Rockets can climb in the Western ladder.
I’m not confident Houston will cover the spread, but I do think they’ll win game. They are literally in win or go home mode for the final month of this season, because just placing eighth or seventh isn’t is essentially allowing them to get 4 or 5 extra games in before grabbing their golf equipment. That’s not to say they might not be able to overtake one of those same two teams in round two, they just can’t meet them in the firstround.
For more exciting news and stories on the Memphis Grizzlies visit our affiliate FanSided site: Beale Street Bears
And check our our Preseason Team Preview of the Memphis Grizzlies:
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