Both teams are coming off huge efforts on Friday night. Utah got past the Nuggets, 127-120, at home while the short-handed Rockets turned in a gutty performance in a 141-133 loss to the Bucks on the road.
I'm anticipating a letdown from both sides here, which sets up a less-than-intense game with sloppy defense.
Houston ranks 27th in scoring defense, defensive field goal percentage and 3-point defense. The Rockets give up 116 points per game. That number shoots up to allowing 127.1 points if you go by their last seven games. Utah is the No. 3 scoring team in the NBA at 116.6. The Jazz don't need Donovan Mitchell's scoring if Bojan Bogdanovic stays hot. Bogdanovic made 16-of-23 shots from the floor, including eight 3-pointers, in scoring 48 points against the Nuggets.
Utah is coming off scoring 127 versus the Nuggets and 126 against the Spurs in its last two games, both of which were at home. The Spurs rank 15th defensively while the Nuggets give up the ninth-fewest points in the league. Houston is far worse defensively.
The Rockets put up 133 points on the Bucks despite having only eight players. The Rockets were missing Christian Wood and Kevin Porter Jr. versus the Bucks. It's a nice bonus if either, or both, were to play today. Kelly Olynyk continues to contribute strong offensive numbers inside and the Rockets have respectable backcourt scoring depth with Armoni Brooks and D.J. Augustin.
If fatigue hits the Rockets, which it very well could, it will show on defense. The Over has cashed in five of Houston's last six games when it played without rest.