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Rockets-Grizzlies Preview

AP - Sports

Following an awful season opener, Houston's Kevin Martin bounced back with a solid shooting performance to lead the Rockets to their first win.

He could be poised for another big night.

Martin, who has routinely frustrated Memphis, looks to help the Rockets continue their dominance in the series Friday night, while the Grizzlies try to avoid their worst start in seven years.

With little turnover from last season's roster, Martin is again expected to handle most of the scoring for Houston (1-1). He didn't come anywhere close to providing enough offense in Monday's opener, a 104-95 loss to Orlando.

Martin, who averaged a team-best 23.5 points last season, finished with four points on 1 of 10 shooting in 33 minutes. It was his fewest points when playing at least 30 minutes in his eight-year career.

He had no trouble finding his shooting touch Thursday, however, scoring 25 on 10 of 17 from the field in the Rockets' 105-85 win over previously unbeaten San Antonio.

"I felt like myself tonight,'' Martin said.

Kyle Lowry also felt like Thursday's performance was a more genuine demonstration of Martin's abilities.

"Everybody was all worried about him,'' said Lowry, who had 16 points, nine rebounds and eight assists. "He just missed shots in Orlando, that was it. Once he made shots, you see what he does.''

With the Rockets in full control of their first game of a back-to-back-to-back stretch, coach Kevin McHale sat Martin with 4:48 to go in the third quarter, giving their star some extra rest.

This doesn't bode well for Memphis (0-2).

Against the Grizzlies last season, Martin averaged 31.3 points, his most against any Western Conference team. Dating back to his days with Sacramento since 2007-08, Martin's average of 31.9 points versus Memphis is the most by any player against the franchise.

With Martin leading the way, the Rockets went 3-1 against the Grizzlies last season. They've also won eight of the last nine meetings.

Memphis is expected to be without starting point guard Mike Conley on Friday after he aggravated a left ankle injury 24 seconds into Wednesday's 98-95 loss to Oklahoma City.

Rookie Jeremy Pargo filled in admirably, finishing with 15 points, seven assists and only one turnover, but the Grizzlies still fell to 0-2 for the first time since 2007. They haven't opened with three straight losses since an 0-4 start in 2004-05.

"He played with a lot of confidence, and that's great. We need that,'' Marc Gasol said of Pargo. "He is very aggressive. I think he's going to get better, too, as far as reading the game and knowing what's going on offensively and defensively.''

Gasol had 16 points against the Thunder, while Zach Randolph had a team-high 24 points and Rudy Gay added 19. Each had 12 rebounds.

The Grizzlies outrebounded Oklahoma City 49-41, but had no luck from the perimeter. They misfired on 14 of 16 3-point attempts, and have an NBA-worst five 3s on 23 tries.

"We don't make 3s; we are not a good 3-point shooting team,'' Memphis coach Lionel Hollins said. "We would love to have a couple of guys that could make 3s consistently, but we don't. That's just the way we are."

Connecting from long range could be difficult against Houston, which limited the Spurs to 2 of 17 from beyond the arc.

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