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NBA Preview from The Sports Network

Wednesday, March 17th (All times eastern)

Memphis Grizzlies (36-32) at Houston Rockets (34-31), 8:30 p.m.

(Sports Network) - It's a virtual must-win situation for a pair of Western Conference teams in desperation mode tonight as the Houston Rockets host the Memphis Grizzlies at the Toyota Center.

Historically the Grizzlies haven't had a lot of success in Houston and have fallen in their last seven trips to the city, including a 104-79 blowout loss back in November. However, Lionel Hollins' club has won seven straight on the road coming into tonight's contest, a franchise record.

Currently both clubs are on the outside looking in for the Western Conference playoff picture, with Memphis standing 4 1/2 games behind Portland for the eighth and final postseason spot and Houston five games behind of the Trail Blazers.

The Grizzlies gave their slim playoff hopes a boost last night in Memphis, where O.J. Mayo paced a balanced attack with 24 points and the Grizzlies withstood a spirited effort from a depleted Chicago Bulls squad to post a 104-97 win at FedEx Forum.

Mike Conley registered 19 points and 10 assists and Zach Randolph had 18 points and 12 rebounds for the Grizzlies, who have won four of their last five games. Rudy Gay added a dozen points, and Hasheem Thabeet stepped up with 10 points and nine boards to tie career highs in both categories.

"O.J. [Mayo] hit some big shots for us, and we got a lot of fast break points," Gay said.

The Rockets also took a step in the right direction in their last outing, a thrilling 125-123 win over Denver on Monday. Aaron Brooks scored 31 points and drained the game-winning jumper with 2.9 seconds left to lift Houston in that one .

Kevin Martin added 29 points and Luis Scola, who had a career-high 44 points in a 116-108 win over New Jersey last Saturday, chipped in 23 to go with 11 rebounds for the Rockets, who have won three straight to tie a season-high.

"I just can't say enough about our team. They battled the whole night," said Houston coach Rick Adelman.

03/17 10:36:53 ET

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