Preview: Grizzlies at Rockets

By By The Sports Xchange
POSTED: 8:28 PM PST January 23, 2014    UPDATED: 8:28 PM PST January 23, 2014 

The Houston Rockets are 2-0 against the Memphis Grizzlies this season and aim to double that victory total when the teams play back-to-back games, beginning with Friday's tilt in Houston. The high-scoring Rockets only averaged 96.5 points in those two wins, using a defense that gave up an average of 89 to post the two victories. Houston has won six of its past seven games while Memphis had a season-best five-game winning streak halted by New Orleans on Monday.The Grizzlies are 0-10 against division mates this season and those struggles are a big reason why they reside in fourth place in the Southwest, well behind San Antonio and Houston as well as trailing Dallas. Memphis put together a solid stretch of games before a dismal showing against the lowly Pelicans despite 23 points and a season-best 20 rebounds from power forward Zach Randolph. The Rockets have won their last three outings after routing the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday.TV: 8 p.m. ET, SportSouth (Memphis), CSN HoustonABOUT THE GRIZZLIES (20-20): Memphis is waiting on enter Marc Gasol to flourish and regain his rhythm after missing seven-plus weeks with a knee injury. Gasol has scored in double digits in three of four games since his return but has yet to make his typical impact on either end of the court. The 7-footer has grabbed more than five rebounds just once and all four of his blocked shots came in one game. Gasol missed both of the losses to Houston earlier this season and averaged just 13.3 points and 6.3 rebounds in last season's four meetings.ABOUT THE ROCKETS (29-15): Center Dwight Howard was the standout in the victory over the Kings with 26 points, 13 rebounds and four blocked shots. Howard is averaging 23.3 points and 13 rebounds over the past three games and has been more aggressive early in the contests. "I watch a lot of film and I see things that I can do better every night and I take that to the next game," Howard said after the contest. "Each game is a different challenge, but one thing that we can all learn to do is just play hard every game and when we do that, good things happen." Howard is 27-of-39 shooting during the hot streak.BUZZER BEATERS 1. Memphis' victory in Houston last April 12 snapped its 13-game road losing streak in the series.2. The Grizzlies have scored 92 or fewer in each of their last four games after topping 100 in five straight.3. Rockets PF Terrence Jones (thigh) is a game-time decision after missing the previous two games.PREDICTION: Rockets 105, Grizzlies 95