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Reply To: NBA • Monday Service Plays • 3/14/16

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Preview: Memphis At Houston

When: 8:00 PM ET, Monday, March 14, 2016
Where: Toyota Center, Houston, Texas

The Memphis Grizzlies are picking up players off the street and thrusting them into key roles as they deal with a slew of crushing injuries. Briante Weber, Alex Stepheson, Ray McCallum and company will try to help the Grizzlies avoid a second consecutive loss when they visit the Houston Rockets on Monday.

Weber made his NBA debut and played 40 minutes in a 121-114 overtime win over New Orleans on Friday while Stepheson and McCallum made their team debuts and combined for 46 minutes off the bench in Saturday’s 95-83 setback at Atlanta. Seldom-used reserves JaMychal Green and Ryan Hollins are occupying starting spots in the frontcourt as Memphis deals with the losses of Zach Randolph (knee), Marc Gasol (foot), Mike Conley (foot), Chris Andersen (shoulder) and Vince Carter (leg) and are providing solid minutes to a team locked into the No. 5 spot in the Western Conference at the moment. The Rockets are battling the Dallas Mavericks and the Portland Trail Blazers for the No. 6 spot in the West while keeping an eye on the ninth-place Utah Jazz in the rearview mirror. Consistency is an issue for Houston, which followed up a strong defensive performance in a win at Boston on Friday with a 125-109 loss at Charlotte the next night.

TV: 8 p.m. ET, FSN Southeast (Memphis), ROOT (Houston)

ABOUT THE GRIZZLIES (39-27): Memphis announced prior to Saturday’s game that Conley will miss another three to four weeks, meaning Weber will continue to get a crash course in playing point guard at the NBA level. McCallum and Stepheson were signed to 10-day contracts prior to Saturday’s game and combined for 17 points but the Grizzlies, who won in overtime on Friday, did not seem to have enough energy to get past the Hawks. Memphis got another injury scare when Lance Stephenson, who is averaging 14.2 points in 12 games since joining the team, fell on his wrist Saturday, but postgame X-rays were negative.

ABOUT THE ROCKETS (33-33): Houston had a chance to pull off a 4-1 road trip after picking up impressive wins at Toronto, Philadelphia and Boston but could not get the shots to fall on the offensive end and looked sluggish on defense against the Hornets. Star guard James Harden has been battling through a shooting slump and managed just 12 points – his lowest total since Jan. 15 – on 2-of-14 shooting on Saturday. Harden went 0-of-5 from beyond the arc in Charlotte and is just 1-of-19 from 3-point range in the last three games while shooting 19.1 percent from distance in six games this month.


1. Grizzlies F Matt Barnes followed up a triple-double on Friday with six points on 2-of-13 shooting, six rebounds and zero assists on Saturday.

2. Rockets F Michael Beasley averaged 16.5 points in 15 minutes over the last two games.

3. Memphis has taken two of the first three meetings this season, including a 102-93 triumph at Houston on Nov. 25.

PREDICTION: Rockets 100, Grizzlies 91