Memphis Grizzlies vs Houston Rockets: Predictions, Odds, and Roster Notes

WN Picks: Houston Rockets defeat Memphis Grizzlies

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How to Watch

What: Memphis Grizzlies at Houston Rockets

Where: Toyota Center, Houston, TX

When: Wednesday, 26 February 2020, 8:00 PM EST

How (TV/Radio): ESPN, AT&T Sportsnet – Southwest, Fox Sports Southeast – Memphis | 790 KBME & 740 KTRH / 850 KEYH & 101.7 FM, ESPN Radio 92.9FM / 680AM

Memphis Grizzlies (Away)

Head Coach: Taylor Jenkins {All-Time 28-28 | MEM}

Season Record: 28-28

Projected Starting Five: (G) Ja Morant – (G) Dillon Brooks – (F) Kyle Anderson – (F) Jaren Jackson – (C) Jonas Valanciunas

Top Performers:

  • (G) Ja Morant – 29.9 MPG | 17.6 PPG | 6.9 APG | 1.0 SPG
  • (F) Jaren Jackson – 28.0 MPG | 16.9 PPG | 4.7 RPG | 1.6 BPG
  • (C) Jonas Valanviunas – 25.9 MPG | 14.6 PPG | 10.6 RPG | 1.2 BPG

The Memphis Grizzlies continue to defeat expectations and are currently sitting eighth in the Western Conference. Above playoff mainstays the Portland Trail Blazers and San Antonio Spurs, Memphis is proving that age is not the defining feature of success.

The Grizzlies are coming off of a blowout loss to the LA Clippers. While they’ve shown they are a class above the lottery teams in the NBA, they still have a lot of work to do when facing the best of the league.

Memphis has a chance to take a win from the Houston Rockets in the last match of their four-game road trip. The Rockets are 8-2 in since they’ve shifted entirely to small ball. One of the last bastions for big man play in the NBA, the Grizzlies will have to show that size matters.

Houston Rockets (Home)

Head Coach: Mike D’Antoni {All-Time 664-519 | DEN, PHX, NYK, LAL, HOU}

Season Record: 36-20

Projected Starting Five: (G) Russell Westbrook – (G) James Harden – (F) Danuel House – (F) Robert Covington – (F) PJ Tucker

Top Performers:

  • (G) James Harden – 36.9 MPG | 35.2 PPG | 7.4 APG | 6.4 RPG
  • (G) Russell Westbrook – 36.0 MPG | 27.2 PPG | 7.9 RPG | 7.2 APG
  • (G) Eric Gordon – 29.2 MPG | 15.1 PPG | 2.0 RPG | .332 3P%

The Houston Rockets continue to defy the conventions of the NBA. After the Clint Capela trade, the Rockets find themselves ranked fourth in the Western Conference and 8-2 since starting the 6’5 PJ Tucker at center.

The Rockets are coming off of a dismantling of the lowly New York Knicks. Despite Russell Westbrook being unavailable, the Rockets spread the floor and put in an egalitarian effort to defeat the Eastern Conference bottom feeders.

Houston will be taking on a “smash mouth” basketball team in the Memphis Grizzlies. While the Rockets have shown that they are more than capable of managing against strong inside play, the Grizzlies are the leagues best at converting inside.

What’s At Stake?

The Houston Rockets and the Memphis Grizzlies have met 98 times over the course of their franchise history. The Rockets lead the Grizzlies in the all-time series 61-37.

A win for the Memphis Grizzlies would give them a three-game lead over the ninth-place team.

A win for the Houston Rockets would bring them within a game of the third-place LA Clippers.

Questions to answer

Can the Memphis Grizzlies beat the Rockets in the paint?

Will the Houston Rockets be able to exploit Memphis’ big men?

We are going to compare the Memphis Grizzlies and the Houston Rockets in an attempt to see who has the advantage in this matchup.

MEM: Play Your Game

The Memphis Grizzlies decided not to follow the leaders in the NBA and doubled down on their play style this season. They are a hard-charging team with some excellent energy whether in the paint or on the fast-break.

Memphis is fourth in the NBA in two-point field goal attempts and first in two-point field goals made. They have versatility when attacking the rim, whether through their impactful guards or dominant big men.

In their loss to the LA Clippers, the Grizzlies got away from their regular game plan. They put up 27 three-point field goal attempts and only converted on seven. While the Clippers have some excellent perimeter and interior defenders, the Grizzlies showed that they can be taken out of their game with the right plan. They can’t afford to bend over against the Rockets.

HOU: Draw Out the Defence

Luckily for the Houston Rockets, the Memphis Grizzlies run a defense that benefits their own style of play. With a plodding big man like Valanciunas, the Rockets are likely to feast on him as they swing the ball for some fantastic opportunities.

When they face the Grizzlies bench, the dynamic changes. With the introduction of players like Brandon Clarke, Tyus Jones, and Jordan Bell, the Grizzlies introduce a more modern and capable defensive unit.

For the Rockets to win this match they’ll have to show that they can beat a defense as versatile and quick as their own offense. Don’t be surprised to see Houston rely on isolation play via James Harden to break down Memphis’ switchable defense.

Memphis Grizzlies Roster Notes

(F) Jaren Jackson – 23 Feb 2020 – Out (Knee) – The Grizzlies announced that Jackson Jr. is dealing with a left knee sprain and will be re-evaluated in two weeks.

(F) Justise Winslow – 21 Feb 2020 – Out (Back) – Winslow has been out since Jan. 8 with a back injury.

(G) Grayson Allen – 27 Jan 2020 – Out (Hip) – The Grizzlies announced that Allen is out indefinitely with a hip injury.

Houston Rockets Roster Notes

The Houston Rockets have no roster changes of note.

Head-to-Head: (C) Jonas Valanciunas vs (F) PJ Tucker

With contrasting styles comes a contrasting matchup between key players. Jonas Valanciunas is having a career season, while PJ Tucker’s role has evolved all year. How they perform will define the flow of the game.

(C) Jonas Valanciunas (6-11, 265lb (211cm, 120kg) | Lithuania | 7 Years)

 

 

SeasonAgeTeamGamesMPPTSREBASTFG%3P%
19-2027MEM5325.914.610.61.8.582.375

 

Jonas Valanciunas is a throwback centre of epic proportions. While he is only playing 26 minutes per game, his efficiency is the best of his career. Establishing the Grizzlies in the paint is what opens up their entire game. He is slow-footed though, so how he copes with the spread-heavy Rockets is key.

(F) PJ Tucker (6-5, 245lb (196cm, 111kg) | Texas | 8 Years)

 

 

SeasonAgeTeamGamesMPPTSREBASTFG%3P%
19-2034HOU5634.97.56.91.6.440.374

 

Three-and-D specialist PJ Tucker is the key piece in Mike D’Antoni’s offence. While isn’t the scorer that Harden or Westbrook is, Tucker has the defensive versatility to matchup up with anyone on the court – regardless of size. If he can draw the Grizzlies’ bigs out of the paint on offence and manage them on defence, the Rockets can execute their gameplay without a hitch.

Memphis Grizzlies at Houston Rockets Predictions and Odds

Why the Memphis Grizzlies Will Win

It’s a matchup of styles and the Memphis Grizzlies have on all their own. If they can dominate the Rockets inside, they’ll be able to open up their shooters. Not succumbing to individual play and continuing to move the ball will also be essential in taking one from the favourites.

Why the Houston Rockets Will Win

The Houston Rockets absolutely batter teams in the half-court. Their individual ability is unmatched between Westbrook and Harden. However, in order to defeat the Grizzlies, they’ll have to spread the defence and take advantage of Memphis’ slow-footed bigs.

WSN’s Pick

WSN Picks: Houston Rockets defeat Memphis Grizzlies

Memphis Grizzlies at Houston Rockets

The latest odds for Grizzlies vs Rockets will be updated as soon as they will be made available by the sportsbooks. For NBA odds visitΒ  William Hill NJ, DraftKings Sportsbook, and 888Sport NJ.

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SportsbookGrizzliesRockets
William Hill NJ+450-600
DraftKings+400-530
888Sport NJ+400-530

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