The side-effects of the night after night grind of a compacted regular season have caused some seismic shocks in the NBA in recent weeks as the mental and physical fatigue takes its toll.
Which is why rest days have become all-important and why the Portland Trailblazers will hope to snuff out the Houston Rockets' winning surge on Monday night at the Rose Garden.
With four victories from their last five games, including impressive wins over Chicago and Memphis, Houston have moved into sixth place in the Western Conference standings and now welcome back Kyle Lowry for the regular season run-in.
By contrast, Portland have hit the buffers; their slide exemplified by a second half meltdown against Milwaukee on Saturday. They’ve already lost twice to the Rockets this season but even amid such contrasting fortunes, take them to win by more than 3.5 for this reason: with 1 day’s rest, they’re 21-11. Houston is just 9-10 on back to backs, and even worse away from home.
Milwaukee host Oklahoma City in the midst of a streak of four consecutive victories but none were inflicted over the NBA’s elite. Their credentials will get a tougher test against the Thunder, whose mini-skid halted with a 24-0 run in the second half of Saturday’s victory over Toronto.
With their title ambitions suddenly coming under scrutiny, and San Antonio relegating them out of top spot in the West, back OKC to make a statement and win by more than 3 at 1.91.
Bet of the Day: Oklahoma City’s offensive output has slowed recently so go under a total of 211 points at 1.91.