The gist: The Rockets are on the second night of their back-to-back to back. The Grizzlies have a day’s rest in between their home game against the Thunder.
Key matchup: Kyle Lowry vs Mike Conley, Jr.
Two former teammates will be right in each other’s grill in a match that might be very well determined with how true they stick to the coach’s playbook. Lowry will have a slight edge as his reputation has him on the fringes of being a top 10 PG in the league, if he is not already there. Conley has some catching up to do.
X-factor: Samuel Dalembert
With Luis Scola a defensive liability, Dalembert will be accountable to cover the Grizzlies’ lethal bigs and limit their production.
Code Red: After failing to nab Marc Gasol in the offseason, the big man will be out to prove that he is worth every penny of the four-year, $55 million max contract that Houston offered him. Rudy Gay will have a barnburner of a night if Chase Budinger and Marcus Morris slack off.
If the newly minted contender Los Angeles Clippers and giant-killing Memphis Grizzlies looked like less than able-bodied humans against the San Antonio Spurs earlier this week, those who follow the Rockets could at best hope for a weakened version of the aging Spurs in Houston’s home opener on the second night of San Antonio’s first back-to-back of the season. Of course, fans were instead greeted by a borderline tedious decimation of the old fogies in black and silver (not a true descriptor of the team on any night other than this one) in which every single thing Rockets fans could have possibly hoped for to happen in this lockout-shortened season took effect, if only for one night of transcendence.
|Kyle Lowry 5-10 FG | 4-4 FT | 9 REB | 8 AST | 16 PTS | +26|
Lowry followed up his sparkling performance against Orlando with another near triple-double. Is he the dark horse candidate for a trip to the All-Star game?
|Kevin Martin 10-17 FG | 1-2 FT | 1 REB | 3 AST | 25 PTS | +19|
After a total dud against the Magic, Martin bounced back to true form, gunning from the opening tip.
|Luis Scola 9-12 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 3 AST | 18 PTS | +28|
Scola was near perfect tonight, making things look too easy against his former club. Did he add a left hand over the summer?
Three Things We Saw
- Chandler Parsons took what was Marcus Morris’ spot in the rotation in the opener. The former is a Budinger clone but with height. That should be a very interesting battle as the season progresses and into the future.
- How many point guards in the league can you honestly say are without a doubt better than the 25-year-old Lowry? He rebounds, he defends, and he doesn’t turn the ball over. We knew he was good, but it’s shocking to see how greatly he’s improved since his first year with the team.
- This was an exciting win, but there was a negative: it came solely on the backs of the veterans in Scola, Martin, Lowry. Hill, Williams, Morris and company were all nowhere to be found. I hate to be the ‘debbie downer’ after a big game, but I need to see something for the future. I already know how far that aforementioned veteran trio can take a team.