The Memphis Grizzlies will travel to play the Houston Rockets in a matchup of teams on opposite ends of the standings on Sunday. The Grizzlies come into this game as West’s 2nd seed after a blowout win against the Magic and Lebron’s 56 point performance to knock off the Warriors last night. They are looking to build their lead in the standings against a Rockets team who has lost 12 straight and are last in the conference.
Before the game, I asked Jeremy Brener of SBNation’s “The Dream Shake” five questions about both the game tonight and the future of the young Rockets.
The Rockets are still early in their rebuilding process, what do you want to see from for the rest of the season to build confidence in the future?
The Rockets aren’t playing for wins at this point. The team is looking to see strides from their three rookies that have gotten playing time this season: Jalen Green, Alperen Sengun and Josh Christopher. Green has made significant strides in the past month and nearly pulled away Rookie of the Month honors from Josh Giddey.
Christian Wood and Eric Gordon have frustrated the fanbase as they haven’t played well and are roadblocking Sengun and Christopher opportunities for more minutes.
But, Rockets fans ultimately want small strides from their rookies game in and game out.
What have you liked the most about watching Jalen Green this season and what do you think about his ceiling?
Green has struggled to start the year but he’s been picking it up over the past month. He’s made improvements in every area of his game and has the potential to be one of the best 2-guards in the NBA really soon. There’s no question he’ll be one of the best players on the Rockets when the team is good again.
It’s hard to put a comparison on him since he’s still developing and we still don’t know if he’s leaning towards being an all-around playmaker like Vince Carter or a true shooting guard like Bradley Beal. If we’re being honest, he’s the first Jalen Green.
For Grizzlies fans who have not watched a lot of Rockets game this season, what are some things the Rockets do well that they should look out for?
The Rockets get to the foul line more than any team in the league. However, they shoot free throws at the worst rate of any team in the league. The Rockets strategy is to attack the rim and hope to either score on layups or at the free throw line.
The Rockets are currently on a 12 game losing streak, what have been the main problems over that stretch and what can they do to get back on track?
The Rockets have the worst defense in the league this season and it’s projected to be historically one of the worst defenses in the last 25 years.
This is large in part to Christian Wood being one of the worst inside defenders in the league. When you can’t protect the rim, it’s really hard to do anything else. And the worst issue of all is that there is no quick fix.
Ja Morant has been incredible this year. What will the Rockets do to try and slow him down?
A whole lot of praying. But in all seriousness, try to get him in foul trouble. Keeping him off the court is the best way to stop him.
Huge thanks to Jeremy Brener for being a part of the article, you can find his twitter here: (@JeremyBrener)
As for my prediction, I believe the Grizzlies will get another win against a Rockets team that has struggled all season. The Memphis Grizzlies have excelled against he bottom half of the league this year, they are 21-9 against teams below .500. I expect that trend to continue as the Grizzlies win 121-106.