Who: Memphis Grizzlies at Houston Rockets
When: Wednesday, October 17, 2012 – 7:00 PM CST
Where: Toyota Center, Houston, TX
Records: Memphis (2-1), Houston (2-1)
Media: No TV, 92.9 FM, 680 AM
Forum Link: 3 SOB Forum, Grizzlies Message Board
Memphis is coming off an exciting win over Atlanta at the FedEx Forum. The team played its expected rotation with the starting five and expected major contributors off the bench playing all the minutes until wrap up time late in the 4th quarter. The first half was disappointing as the starting five started extremely slow allowing Atlanta to score the first 8 points and 13 of the first 15 points in the game. The bench, led by Quincy Pondexter, Jerryd Bayless and Mo Speights regained the momentum however closing the gap to just five points at halftime. The 3rd quarter was all Grizzlies as the team found some momentum and blew out the Hawks. This was the first time the Grizzlies showed what is likely to be their rotation heading into the season and the overall effect was positive.
Houston has remade their team after three successive seasons of falling just short of the playoffs. Gone are former Grizz Kyle Lowry, Luis Scola, Chase Budinger, Samuel Dalembert, Marcus Camby and Courtney Lee. In their place the Rockets got three first round draft picks in Jeremy Lamb, Royce White and Terrance Jones while using the freed up cap space to sign free agents Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik. The Rockets now have one of the best stories from last season in Lin and one of the more promising bigs in the game to pair with Grizz killer Kevin Martin and last year’s rookie surprise, Chandler Parsons. The Rockets will be young and talented, but chemistry will need to be developed.
What to Watch For:
This game will likely be sloppy. Lin is still recovering from knee surgery and there is no clear-cut leader on the team. Martin is experienced but has never been a vocal leader. Asik has looked very impressive in the pre-season and their rookies have had moments of brilliance but overall the team hasn’t looked ready to compete night in and night out in the toughest division in the NBA.
Memphis is expected to retreat from the veteran look against the Hawks with Josh Selby and Jerryd Bayless given more time. Unfortunately the Grizzlies other new players the team expects to get contributions from (Darrell Arthur, Wayne Ellington and Tony Wroten) will likely get limited minutes if they play at all with various injuries. Jerome Jordan will battle to make an impression against returning veteran Hamed Haddadi and both players will be tested by Asik.