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Preview: Grizzlies vs. Rockets

December 30, 2011

Joe Murphy/NBAE/Getty Images

The Houston Rockets are in the early stages of their post-Yao Ming era now that the former NBA All-Star from China has retired due to ongoing foot injuries. The Rockets have a new coach in Kevin McHale and are in the process of integrating a host of new faces to go with veterans like former Grizzly point guard Kyle Lowry, guard Kevin Martin, and forward Louis Scola. Point guard Goran Dragic was acquired in a trade last season with Phoenix, as was center Hasheem Thabeet, another former Grizzlies’ player. Houston is also welcoming in rookies Marcus Morris, Donatas Motiejunas, and Chandler Parsons. Going up against a seasoned Memphis team this early in the season could be a tall order for the Rockets. The Grizzlies should have the advantage in the front court with the trio of Rudy Gay, Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol. An experienced bench led by O.J. Mayo could also provide a boost. The Grizzlies, playing their third game in five days, are closing out a two-game homestand tonight as they prepare to head to Chicago for a New Year's Day clash against the Bulls.

Key Matchup - Tony Allen vs. Kevin Martin

Whether it was with the Sacramento Kings, or his current team the Houston Rockets, guard Kevin Martin has always had his way against the Grizzlies. While Martin led the Rockets in scoring last year at 23.5 ppg, he averaged 31 against the Grizzlies as the Rockets again one the season series, 3-1. The Grizzlies how to end their lack of success against the Rockets and it starts with slowing down Martin. That chore will likely fall into the hands of defensive specialist Tony Allen, who will have his hands full chasing Martin through numerous screens.

Tonight's Promotions

  • Magnet Schedules to the first 10,000 fans. Presented by First Tennessee.
  • Postgame Happy Hour - Jack Daniel's Old No. 7 Sports Bar

Tune In

  • TV: SportSouth (Satellite or U-Verse viewers: Find your channel.)
  • Radio: ESPN Radio 92.9FM/680AM

Gametime: Postgame Coverage

Watch Coach Hollins' live postgame press conference after the buzzer and then stay tuned for photos, highlights and more.