Houston (26-22) at Memphis (26-22)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Memphis, TN
Temp: 75° F
  • Game info: 8:00 pm EST Fri Feb 5, 2010
  • TV: FSH, FSTN
Preview | Box Score | Recap

When the Houston Rockets beat the Memphis Grizzlies by 25 points in mid-November, few could have figured the teams would have identical records nearly three months later.

That’s exactly where the Southwest Division rivals stand heading into Friday night, with the Grizzlies looking for a 13th win in 14 home games when they meet a Rockets team hitting the road for the first time in two weeks.

Memphis (26-22) lost 104-79 at Houston on Nov. 11 to fall to 1-8, but since then its 25-14 record is the sixth-best in the NBA. The Rockets were 5-3 at the time, not to mention coming off a third straight trip to the playoffs - the Grizzlies haven’t qualified since 2006.

The teams are now tied for ninth in the Western Conference.

The Grizzlies have hit a rare rough patch over the last week by dropping three of four, including their first home loss since Dec. 14 on Saturday against New Orleans. They bounced back with a 95-93 home win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday, but shot 38.0 percent and never led in a 105-89 loss at Cleveland on Tuesday.

“(Monday) night had nothing to do with tonight,” coach Lionel Hollins said.

It was the final game of four in five nights for Memphis, which gets two days to rest before Houston’s visit. The Grizzlies are 6-2 when they have at least that much time off.

The Rockets (26-22) boast the same record in that scenario, and they will have identical rest after a 119-97 win over Golden State on Tuesday concluded a six-game homestand.

It wasn’t exactly a prolific stretch, however, losing the first three before salvaging two of the final three games. The blowout of the Warriors was Houston’s first game decided by double digits since Dec. 27, going 8-10 in that span.

“Everyone needs (a blowout) every now and then,” said forward Shane Battier(notes), who spent his first five seasons with the Grizzlies. “It was a fun game to play in for us, and we can’t say that about the games we’ve played in over the last four or five weeks.”

Aaron Brooks(notes) had 24 points against Golden State and averaged 25.8 over the final four games of the homestand while hitting 43.8 percent of his 3-pointers.

The Rockets are 10-2 when Brooks scores at least 24. They’re 8-12 when he scores 17 or fewer, but they beat Memphis in the only meeting this season despite Brooks being held to eight.

Luis Scola(notes) scored 22 points in that win while Carl Landry(notes) added 20 and fellow reserve Chase Budinger(notes) had 15. Houston is 12-4 when Budinger scores in double figures.

Memphis won both home meetings with the Rockets last season behind 25.0 points per game from O.J. Mayo(notes), who scored a team-high 19 in the November loss.

The Grizzlies’ biggest problem was a lack of production from Marc Gasol(notes), who scored a season-low three points on 1-of-7 shooting while battling foul trouble.

Memphis averages a league-best 51.6 points in the paint largely because of Gasol and Zach Randolph(notes), but was outscored 64-34 in Cleveland. Gasol and Randolph totaled 18 points - half their combined average - on 7-of-23 shooting.

The Grizzlies are 14-4 when Gasol scores at least 15 points and Randolph has 20 or more.

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Friday, Feb 5