2013-14 NBA Preseason Preview: Memphis Grizzles vs Houston Rockets

Wait, c'mon Marc, everyone knows this is NOT the shooting form you use. - Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sport

After a solid stretch of games, the Grizzlies laid an egg in Toronto this past Wednesday. Honestly, they may have not even laid an egg, they may have just dry heaved a few times in an attempt to lay something. Can the Grizzlies rebound tonight at home for the preseason finale?

Grizzlies vs Rockets

Tipoff

7:00pm CDT at FedexForum in Memphis, TN

How to watch/listen:

CSN Houston TV, 92.9ESPN Memphis

Probable starters:

Memphis Grizzlies - Mike Miller, Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol, Tony Allen, Mike Conley

Houston Rockets - Chandler Parsons, Dwight Howard, Omer Asik, James Harden, Patrick Beverley

Injuries:

Memphis - None

Houston - Marcus Camby (old as hell plantar fasciitis), Terrence Jones (right shoulder strain)

The Skinny:

We know what the Grizzlies have been up to recently: they served us a big bowl of ass up in Toronto, with Zach Randolph fouling out with 2 pts, the team shooting 35% from the field, and Ed Davis and Jon Leuer basically being the only players to show some semblance of a human pulse.

The Rockets, however, are coming off a thorough beat down of the Spurs, and that was in San Antonio. The Rockets could not be stopped offensively, and got very solid production from Parson, Harden, Howard and Omri Casspi (?). You can't read too much into their routing of the Spurs, seeing as how Popovich is willing to rest his star players - even during the regular season, but the Grizzlies will have to get things together early on tonight if they want to make a game against the Rockets.

What to look for:

  • Marc Gasol will obviously have to step it up tonight if Dwight Howard is to be contained. The Rockets have Howard listed at PF and Asik slotted for C, but when the Grizzlies are on defense it'll be all about how Gasol matches up to D12 and how Tony Allen plays against James Harden.
  • Okay Grizzlies, it's basically go-time at this point. This is the last chance to reign in and harness the Joerger Pace that has brought mixed results so far this preseason. With a season opener in San Antonio less than a week away, Memphis cannot afford to use this game tonight as a lackadaisical scrimmage. We need to see that the Grizzlies can execute their offense for at least three of the four quarters, and they can't be lazy on defense or else the Rockets will pummel us at the free throw line, our starters will sit early with personal fouls and the game may be over in the first half.
  • Will we see a more steady lineup rotation? So far I haven't been able to discern much of a pattern to Joerger's substitutions, but that could be more about Joerger not showing his hand rather than a "gunslinging" mentality when it comes to rotating players. Will Tayshaun Prince lace up and play? Who emerges as the primary backup PG, Bayless or Calathes?
  • Which players end up grabbing those last roster spots? There's actually not a lot of debate here, to be honest. Willie Reed and Tony Gaffney are about the only "camp bodies" to log any significant minutes this preseason. And while both players have made their share of hustle plays, they've also both made some pretty boneheaded moves that have me believing only one of these guys has a chance to make the final roster - mostly because I think the Grizzlies will want to have an open roster spot for any trade scenarios that might require one.

Most of all, I think we'd all like to see "THE" Grizzlies come out and play tonight. As a team that thrives on effort and energy, it's been painful to watch some of the halfhearted efforts during the preseason. The Grit and the Grind are truly what makes this team work, and it'd be nice to see the Gryz (Guys + Griz = Gryz) flip the switch and give the home crowd a real taste of what their made of. (note: this doesn't apply to Mike Miller, who plays at 100mph all..the..time.)

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