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Top Defenses Clash As Rockets Host Grizzlies

Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph have steered Memphis to a league-best 15-2.

Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph have steered Memphis to a league-best 15-2.

Division rivals meet Wednesday as the Houston Rockets host the Memphis Grizzlies in a battle of Southwest Division heavyweights.

Tip-off at Toyota Center is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. ET.

In addition to being a divisional matchup, Wednesday’s game also serves as a meeting between the two best defensive sides in the league.

The Story So Far

Memphis (15-2, 7-2 road) enters the game with the league’s best record, a record it’ll be looking to extend against the Rockets.

Memphis has used a staunch defense to get the better of its opponents this season. The Grizzlies are allowing just 92.4 points per game and has limited six opponents to 90 points or less.

The Grizzlies’ resume features solid wins over the Los Angeles Clippers, Portland Trail Blazers and the Rockets, but so far the team has had something of a soft schedule.

The side’s two losses came on the road against the Toronto Raptors and Milwaukee Bucks in games that were decided by four and one point respectively. The side enters Wednesday’s game winners of five straight.

Houston (13-4, 6-3 home) has also used defense to climb into the Western Conference’s top four. The Rockets allow 92.8 points per game, putting them right alongside the Grizzlies.

Kevin McHale’s side began the year 9-1 but is just 4-3 since. This latest stretch began with a loss to the Grizzlies.

Houston owns quality wins over the Miami Heat, San Antonio Spurs and Dallas Mavericks, but will be looking to prove itself against stiff competition after losing to the Clippers last Friday.

Impact Players

Memphis’ front court combo of Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph has been getting it done at both ends of the floor. Gasol is averaging a team-best 20.1 points to go along with 8.1 rebounds and 1.5 blocks. Randolph leads the team with 11.7 boards per game, and is also chipping in 16.3 points per game.

The Grizzlies have a back court tandem that’s also putting the workload in. Mike Conley is averaging 16.3 points and 6.4 assists, while Courtney Lee is adding 13.3 points per contest.

James Harden is the main man for Houston. In his second year with the Rockets, Harden is averaging 25.2 points per contest, second in the league to only Kobe Bryant (25.8ppg), as well as6.2 rebounds and 6.7 assists.

With Dwight Howard out, the Rockets will be missing the big man’s double-double, meaning the likes of Trevor Ariza will need to step up.


Houston leads the all-time head-to-head series 49-28.

Memphis has won five of the last seven head-to-head meetings between the two sides, including the first matchup this season. The Grizzlies handed the Rockets a 119-93 defeat on November 17.

After Wednesday, the two sides will meet twice more this regular season, at Memphis on December 26 and at Houston on March 4.

Injury Report

The Rockets will take to the hardwood without guard Patrick Beverley (hamstring), forward Terrence Hones (leg) and center Dwight Howard (knee), all out indefinitely. Meanwhile, backup guard Isaiah Canaan (ankle) is listed as day-to-day.

Memphis has no injuries to report.

The Rockets will once again be without Dwight Howard in the middle.

The Rockets will once again be without Dwight Howard in the middle.

Betting Report

Below you’ll find Betting Sports’ breakdown of odds and betting trends.

Memphis Grizzlies vs. Houston Rockets odds for 12/03/2014

At the time of writing, bookmakers had yet to release betting lines for this top of the table clash. Click the link above to find the latest odds and trends.

In the meantime, here are some trends to keep in mind.

Memphis has won three straight and five of its last seven against Houston.

The Grizzlies are 2-0 in divisional play while the Rockets are 2-1.

Memphis is 10-7-0 ATS, including 6-3-0 ATS on the road, 6-7-0 ATS as the favorite, and 4-0-0 ATS as the underdog.

Houston is 9-8-0 ATS this season, including 4-5-0 ATS at home, 6-5-0 ATS as the favorite, and 3-3-0 ATS as the dog.

With Howard out of the game, we expect Memphis to be the favorite.

The Grizzlies have covered the spread in three straight head-to-head meetings and five of the last seven.

However, Houston is 7-3-0 ATS in its last 10 home games against Memphis.

Memphis (8-8-1 O/U) has split the over/under evenly, while Houston (3-14-0 O/U) has very much favored the under.

The total has gone under in 10 of Memphis’ last 12 visits to Houston.


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