Houston enters Monday's home game against the Chicago Bulls on a season-high seven-game losing streak and probably will not have starting guard Victor Oladipo in the lineup again due to a right foot strain. DeMarcus Cousins, who reportedly will be traded by the March 25 deadline, is listed as questionable and PJ Tucker as probable. The Bulls remain without Lauri Markkanen due to a right shoulder injury and Otto Porter with back troubles. The Bulls are 1-point favorites on the William Hill Sportsbook NBA odds. Check out the SportsLine Projection Model's forecast.
Houston hasn't played since a 118-113 loss in Philadelphia last Wednesday as home games vs. Dallas and Indiana on Friday and Saturday were postponed with all the weather issues in Texas. Oladipo (18.4 ppg since being acquired in trade from the Pacers) has been out since Feb. 11 and probably won't go Monday. Cousins sat out most of Sunday's practice due to a foot issue.
Shams Charania reported over the weekend that the Rockets and Cousins are "planning to part ways in the coming days." A trade (or buyout) may not happen until fellow center Christian Wood is back from injury, however. Houston wants to "smaller, younger" in the frontcourt when Wood returns. Cousins is a four-time All-Star; he's not that guy any longer, but there won't be a shortage of contenders who will be calling the Rockets on Cousins, who is averaging 9.6 points and 7.6 rebounds per game.
Tucker has missed the past two games with a right quad contusion, and he probably will be traded, too, as the 35-year-old doesn't fit in Houston's long-term plans.
Markkanen, averaging 19.1 points and 6.1 rebounds, hasn't played since Feb. 5 with the shoulder problem. Porter (11.5 ppg, 6.3 rpg) last played on Feb. 1.
When the Bulls beat the visiting Rockets 125-120 on Jan. 18, Markkanen had 18 points and seven rebounds. Zach LaVine led Chicago with 33 points. That was Oladipo's Houston debut, and he had 32 points and nine assists. John Wall missed it for the Rockets with a sore left knee but is healthy now.
Houston had won the previous seven in the series. The Bulls haven't won back-to-back in it since March 2016. They are 2-5 against the spread in their past seven at Houston.
The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every NBA game 10,000 times, and it returned over $5,000 in profit on its top-rated NBA picks last season. The model is also up more than $8,400 on top-rated NBA picks over the past two-plus seasons. Dating back to last season, it enters Week 9 of the 2020-21 NBA schedule on a stunning 83-48 roll on top-rated NBA picks against the spread. Anybody who has followed it has seen HUGE returns.