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Rockets Ready To Battle Grizzlies In Memphis This Friday

Posted by Craig Parsons on 3/27/2013 5:48:03 PM

The Memphis Grizzlies have locked up a top-eight spot in the Western Conference and are destined to compete in the 2013 NBA playoffs. The Houston Rockets aren’t far behind them, and will try to lock up their own spot soon. The Rockets can move one step closer to clinching a playoff spot when they host Memphis on Friday night. Houston is eight games back of the Grizzlies for fifth and doesn’t really have a chance at catching them, but they could climb as high as sixth while keeping the lower seeded teams from jumping them in the sports betting race.

Houston Rockets @ Memphis Grizzlies
Friday March 29, 2013 – 8:00 PM ET
FedExForum, Memphis, Tennessee
NBA Sportsbook Line: Memphis – 3.5

These teams have split their first two meetings of the season, each winning on their own home floor. The Rockets put up 121 points in a win at the Toyota Center the last time these teams met, with James Harden scoring a game-high 31 and Jeremy Lin dishing out 12 assists. However, Houston put up only 85 points in an eight-point road loss to the Grizzlies earlier in the year, and Memphis has played its best defense at home.

NBA Betting Preview: Houston Rockets

It will be on Harden and company to attack that defense and find the looks they want the way they did at home in mid-December, when the Rockets hit more than 53-percent of its shots from the field and more than 42-percent from beyond the arc. Houston leads the NBA in scoring with an average of 106.4 points per game, and a big part of that is the way they move the ball around as they average 23.3 assists per game, the fifth-best mark in the association. The additions of Harden and Lin have paid off as the Rockets are on pace to make the postseason, but they must be better at the defensive end of the floor, as only two other teams have allowed more points than Houston has this season.

NBA Betting Preview: Memphis Grizzlies

Memphis is 20 games above .500 at home this season where it has played its best basketball. The Grizzlies are on their game when they are contesting every shot and clogging the lanes, and their strong defensive play is illustrated in the statistics as they rank second in the NBA in points per game allowed giving up less than 90 per game. The problem has been a lack of consistency on offense, as Memphis ranks near the bottom of the association in scoring. The decision to trade leading scorer Rudy Gay has been highly scrutinized, and put an even bigger burden on the shoulders of players like Zach Randolph and Mike Conley.

NBA Betting Preview: Outlook & Pick

These teams could not be more different from one another, and that always makes for an interesting online betting matchup. The fact that Houston is the hungrier team should lead to a greater sense of urgency from them on the floor, and it did seem as though Kevin McHale and the Rockets’ offense figured out the best way to attack the Memphis defense when it put up 121 points the last time these teams met. Houston might not win, but they should keep it close down to the wire.

NBA Betting Pick: Houston Rockets

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