There's no rest for the weary in the Western Conference, especially in this lockout-compressed season.
After a tough six-game road trip that ended with a 93-83 loss in Memphis on Tuesday night, the Houston Rockets have to turn right around and host the Oklahoma City Thunder, the team with the NBA's best record, on Wednesday night.
This will be Houston's third meeting with Oklahoma City after the Rockets lost both ends of a home-and-home back-to-back to the Thunder in early January.
For Houston, the match-up will be a test of not only their ability to play on short rest but of how far they have come in the last month, after a strong January push that sent them moving up the playoff standings.
Kevin Durant came up big in both games against the Rockets earlier in the season, including the last four Oklahoma City points in their narrow 98-95 victory in Houston. None of the Rockets swingmen have the athleticism or versatility to contest the 6'10 Durant's shot on the perimeter, and he will be a perfect test for whether they Kevin McHale can set up his defense to overcome this type of match-up problem.
For Kyle Lowry, a recent All-Star Game snub, a match-up with two-time All-Star Russell Westbrook at the point guard position is not only a chance to make a statement about his game but also a glimpse into what he needs to do to become nationally recognized.
The 7:00 PM game will be broadcast regionally on Fox Sports Net Houston.