Houston Rockets vs Memphis Grizzlies: Match Preview and Predictions - 4th November 2019
Date and time: Monday, 4 November 2019, 08:00 PM ET
Venue: FedExForum, Memphis, TN
Last game results
Houston Rockets (3-3): 100-129 loss against the Miami Heat (3rd November, Sunday)
Memphis Grizzlies (1-4): 105-114 loss against the Phoenix Suns (2nd November, Saturday)
Houston Rockets preview
The Houston Rockets just can't seem to play defense well enough, with a defensive rating of 115.9. While most people expected the Rockets to struggle early in the season, they did not expect it to be this bad with the addition of All-Star and MVP guard Russell Westbrook, .
Unsurprisingly, it is Westbrook who has been the best player on the team and is playing lights out basketball, averaging a triple-double once again. While Russ has been at his best, the same can't be said about their other All-Star guard James Harden.
Harden has been struggling at the start of the season and is shooting at a comical 20% from the three-point line. His field-goal percentage at 36.5% is not great either.
The 30-year-old guard is one of the best scorers in the history of the game and is known for his ability to score a basket at will, but he needs to get out of his funk if his team are to change their fortunes.
Key Player - Russell Westbrook
Westbrook is having a lot of fun in Houston playing for the Rockets. While their 3-3 record is not very impressive, Westbrook has been making a strong early case for MVP and is playing at an elite level.
'The Brodie' is averaging 23.4 points, 11 rebounds and 9.8 assists per game, and is likely to average a triple-double for the fourth straight season. The Rockets spread the floor nicely and with good shooters on the team, Russ is able to attract the traffic and kick it out to his teammates - who on most occasions nail the three-pointer and add an assist to the guard's stat line.
Westbrook has never been a great three-point shooter and that has not changed this season either as he is shooting at only 27.3% from beyond the arc. While the Rockets do not need Russ to shoot three-pointers, working on his long range shooting can only make him and his team better.
Rockets predicted lineup
Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Clint Capela, PJ Tucker, Danuel House
Memphis Grizzlies preview
The Memphis Grizzlies are a different team than they were last season as they only have six players on this team who played for them last year. This is a very young team without a lot of experience in the league, and this season is expected to be a long one for the fans.
After losing their long-time starting guard Mike Conley Jr., the Grizzlies have a rookie point guard who was the second overall pick in the 2019 NBA draft. Ja Morant is an explosive player though, and has the potential to go down as one of the best point guards in the league's history.
The Grizzlies have good rim protectors in Jonas Valanciunas and Jaren Jackson Jr. who can block shots and trouble opposition offenses in the paint. However, the team has not been able to capitalize well on transition and even though they have the ball in their hands, they are not able to put it in the hoop.
The upcoming schedule is not looking good either as they games against playoffs contender teams like Rockets, Jazz and Lakers.
Key Player - Ja Morant
The 20-year-old Ja Morant has looked great for the Grizzlies so far this season and is leading the team in points (17.5), assists (5.0) and steals (1.8) per game. Morant is one of the early contenders for the Rookie of the Year award and even though the Grizzlies' record doesn't look great and the fans are unhappy, the young guard is giving them playoffs hopes.
The Grizzlies have not made it to the post-season the last two seasons and will be looking to change things this time around. However, playing in a stacked western conference, they need to pick up some wins before the clock runs out.
Morant is expected to be the future of this franchise as he is already their go-to guy down the stretch. His best game of this season so far came against a Kyrie-led Brooklyn Nets where he finished with 30 points and 9 assists. He also blocked Kyrie Irving to send the game into overtime, where the Grizzlies won on Jae Crowder's buzzer-beating three-pointer.
Grizzlies predicted lineup
Jae Crowder, Jaren Jackson Jr., Jonas Valanciunas, Ja Morant, Dillon Brooks
Rockets vs Grizzlies match prediction
Both the teams are struggling defensively as a unit and this game is expected to be a high-scoring affair. It will be interesting to see how Westbrook and Morant match up, as the latter's athleticism and pace often invite comparisons with the 8-time All-Star.
The Grizzlies are better equipped defensively compared to the Rockets but the Westbrook-Harden scoring duo will likely be too much to handle for the Grizzlies. I expect the Rockets to walk away with the win.
Where to Watch Rockets vs Grizzlies?
The game will not be broadcast on national television. However, you can catch the local coverage on AT&T SPORTSNET - SOUTHWEST and Fox Sports SOUTHEAST. Additionally, you can also live stream the game via NBA League Pass.