Cincinnati.com
National Basketball Association
Preview
Houston at Memphis
When: 8:00 PM ET, Saturday, December 15, 2018
Where: FedExForum, Memphis, Tennessee

A week after finishing an 0-3 road trip, the Houston Rockets head back out onto the road for a visit with the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday. The Rockets were held to an average of 95.3 points in their winless trip before finding their footing on the offensive end in a 2-0 homestand capped by a 126-111 win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday.

James Harden recorded a record fourth 50-point triple-double of his career as Houston pulled away late to improve to 7-11 against the Western Conference after going 41-11 last season. "Winning's hard in this league, and you have to play hard, and we didn't (at times this season)," coach Mike D'Antoni told reporters. "We were too uneven before. It's better now, but again we've been here before. You know, we're trying to get out of the cellar. Let's keep it in perspective." The Grizzlies were held under 100 points for the fourth straight time and fell to 1-3 in that stretch with Friday's 100-97 loss to Miami at home. Mike Conley led the way in the losing effort with 22 points, eight assists and a career high-tying three blocked shots.

TV: 8 p.m. ET, AT&T SportsNet Southwest (Houston), FS Southeast (Memphis)

ABOUT THE ROCKETS (13-14): While Harden puts up his MVP-caliber numbers, Houston is pleased with newcomer Danuel House Jr., who scored 15 points in the win over the Lakers and averaged 13.5 points in 25 minutes off the bench during the 2-0 homestand. "Nah, I ... had that," House told reporters when asked of his growing confidence. "I mean, I was top 15, top 20 in my class coming out of high school. In college I was a honorable mention All-American, so the confidence part I wasn't worried about. I just had to correct myself defensively, and continue to lead the defense in energy. That's my job." Meanwhile, Harden is averaging 38 points on 50.7 percent shooting over his last three games.

ABOUT THE GRIZZLIES (16-12): Memphis coach J.B. Bickerstaff began his postgame press conference Friday by declining to comment on a rumored three-team trade that was later called off, instead giving him a chance to talk about a lackluster effort against the Heat. "The issues that we've had, that we corrected against Portland (on Wednesday) as far as the defensive rebounding, the extra effort plays, the plays that we make when we're successful, tonight they made more of them than we did," Bickerstaff told the media. The Memphis bench was outscored 52-23 on Friday as six reserves combined to shoot 9-for-31 from the floor.

BUZZER BEATERS

1. Rockets SF James Ennis III (hamstring) sat out Thursday's win and is day-to-day.

2. Grizzlies SG Wayne Selden, one of the players rumored to be involved in the canceled trade, is 1-for-9 from the floor in two games since scoring a season-high 17 points against the Los Angeles Lakers.

3. The teams have split the last five season series 2-2.

PREDICTION: Rockets 108, Grizzlies 103
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away Day Night Div Conf
Houston 13-14 W2 7-5 6-9 0-1 13-13 1-4 7-11
Memphis 16-12 L1 9-5 7-7 1-2 15-10 3-0 11-7
Last Meeting
Houston Memphis
Date Away Home Pts Reb FG% Pts Reb FG%
11/18/17 HOU 105 MEM 83 105 45 44.9 83 48 36.0
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Houston J. Harden 29 45.0 5
Memphis C. Parsons 17 77.8 2
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Houston C. Capela 13 2 11
Memphis M. Gasol 9 1 8
Assists Player  
Houston J. Harden 7
Memphis M. Chalmers 8
Season
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Houston J. Harden 821 44.4 220
Memphis M. Conley 637 42.9 143
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Houston C. Capela 340 140 200
Memphis M. Gasol 273 35 238
Assists Player  
Houston J. Harden 229
Memphis M. Conley 195
Quickchart Matchup
Houston Houston Off vs  Memphis Memphis Defense
Houston Off vs Memphis - Points For 109.0 Points For
Houston Off vs Memphis - Points Against 102.0 Points Against
Houston - FG% 45.0 FG%
Memphis - FG% 44.5 FG%
Houston - Reb 41.0 Reb
Memphis - Reb 45.3 Reb
Memphis Memphis Off vs  Houston Houston Defense
Memphis Off vs Houston - Points For 102.7 Points For
Memphis Off vs Houston - Points Against 109.6 Points Against
Memphis - FG% 45.3 FG%
Houston - FG% 47.6 FG%
Memphis - Reb 39.7 Reb
Houston - Reb 42.6 Reb