Memphis Grizzlies at Houston Rockets – NBA March 29

9W – Grizzlies (21-22, 10-9) at 14W – Rockets (12-32, 6-16)

  • Time: 5PM PST – 7PM CST – 8PM EST
  • Place: United Center, Chicago, IL
  • TV: FSN Southeast | AT&T Sportsnet | NBA League Pass

Opening Tip

Expect the Grizzlies to be a highly motivated group this evening after losing a back-to-back in Utah on Friday and Saturday. This knocked them out of the eighth seed in the West as they currently sit a game and a half back of 8-seed Dallas.

This is the last of a four-game road trip for the Grizzlies while this home game is in the middle of a series when the Rockets play four of five games on the road.

Houston is 2-2 over the last four games after an 1117-99 win over Toronto halted their 20-game losing streak. The Rockets are in a tough place and going nowhere with such a mobile roster and the injury to Christian Wood, who was having a break-out season. Wood had given them 30.6 minutes per game in six games since his return but was out on Saturday with a knee injury.

Houston and Memphis have split the season series as the Rockets won, 115-103, in Memphis on Feb. 4 behind 22 points from John Wall. The Grizzlies desecrated the Rockets, 133-84, in Houston on Feb. 28 as Memphis shot 53.3 percent from the field while the Rockets were at 27.7 percent, a franchise low for a single game.

Houston hasn’t lost a series to Memphis since the 2012-13 season although there have been five seasons where the series is tied.

Key Injuries

  • Memphis GrizzliesJaren Jackson (knee) – Out
  • Houston RocketsAvery Bradley (calf) – Day to Day | Eric Gordon (groin) – Out | David Nwaba (wrist) – Out | Christian Wood (knee) – Day to Day

Grizzlies:

  • The Grizzlies are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games
  • The total has gone OVER in 4 of Memphis’ last 5 games
  • The Grizz is 3-8 ATS in their last 11 games vs. the Rockets

Rockets:

  • Houston is 3-14 ATS in their last 17 games
  • The UNDER has been the play in 5 of the Rockets’ last 7 games
  • The UNDER has also been the call in 4 of Houston’s last 5 vs. Memphis

Last Time Out

Add the Grizzlies to the list of teams that could not atone for a massive amount of Utah Jazz three-pointers as Utah hit 19 in a 126-110 win. The game was never in doubt as the Jazz bolted to a 39-19 lead after the first quarter and controlled the contest from there. Kyle Anderson led Memphis with 16 points while Jonas Valančiūnas had 13 points and 11 boards.

Kevin Porter, Jr., scored 25, and John Wall had 13 points and 12 assists as the Rockets won the second game of a back-to-back, 129-107, over the struggling Minnesota Timberwolves. Houston shot 54.3 percent from the field and put up 74 points in the first half.

Teams Spread Money Line Total Points
Grizzlies -7.5 (-115) -350 O 226 (-115)
Rockets +7.5 (-105) +280 U 226 (-105)

Advantage, Memphis

Memphis Grizzlies Logo 101x101The Grizzlies get the ball inside with efficiency as they lead the NBA in field goals (32.0) and field goal attempts (62.0) from two. The difference is conversion as the 51.6 percent is only 22nd in the NBA. Jonas Valančiūnas (15.7 ppg, 12.5 rpg) makes 57.3 percent of his shots inside and has turned into a solid option after the guard play of all-star Ja Morant (19.3 ppg, 7.5 apg) and Dillon Brooks (16.1 ppg, 2.9 rpg).

Key Grizzlies Stat

Memphis leads the NBA with 9.8 steals and with 19.8 points off turnovers and they are second in deflections with 16.8 per game. This team will have to rely on it’s defense as a major part of it’s identity as it tries to move back inside the solid seven seeds.

X-Factor

Making the three something that Memphis needs to improve on if they can be a solid playoff contender. The shoot it at only 34.8 percent (25th/NBA) as the last three games have seen them make only 32 triples in 99 tries. Grayson Allen (40.6%-3) and Desmond Bane (45.3%-3) are the most steady three-ballers on the roster. Add in Kyle Anderson (12.5 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 3.4 apg) as well as he is having the best season in his seven-year career as he nails 36.8 percent from three.

Advantage, Houston

Houston Rockets LogoThe Rockets have such a fluid roster all of a sudden that it’s hard to keep tabs on who is playing at a consistent clip. John Wall came back from injury six games ago and has averaged 18.3 points and 9.5 assists per game over this stretch. Adding Kevin Porter, Jr. looks like a solid move as he has double digits in scoring 20-plus points in four of his eight games as a Rocket. Obviously, the team’s low shooting percentage of 43.6 percent (29th/NBA) is a product of so much roster attrition.

Key Rockets Stat:

Jae’Sean Tate continues his solid rookie campaign in Houston as he has started 33 of 45 games 10.3 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.9 assists. Tate has made 20 of his 35 shots and averaged 12.7 points and 3.7 assists over his last four games.

X-Factor:

The Rockets have used 30 different starting lineups in 45 games as Houston keeps acquiring draft picks which will help stabilize the team long term. They also picked up Kelly Olynyk in the trade with Miami for Victor Oladipo, but he is a journeyman role player and not an answer long term.

Winner: Grizzlies (-7.5) 118, Rockets 109

The Bets
Memphis Grizzlies -7.5
-115
Memphis Grizzlies
-350
OVER 226
-115
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Kenneth Cross / Author

Kenneth Cross is a new entry to The Sports Geek staff as he has 25 years of experience in print, broadcast, and internet sports journalism. Cross is a lover of all sports, but college basketball is his passion. He estimates that he has seen around 1,500 college basketball games - live and in-person - and hopes that grows this season. If you listen to Radio, you have likely heard him on Sundays covering the Carolina Panthers for some 20 years. Now in Tampa Bay, he works as a national radio correspondent.