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The Houston Rockets will lose these six games

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Six "schedule losses" the Houston Rockets have already been handed by the NBA schedule.

Take a seat for these six Houston Rockets "schedule losses."
Take a seat for these six Houston Rockets "schedule losses."
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA schedule can be cruel. Even in the age of chartered planes, sports medicine and whatever it was Gilbert Arenas did to his house in 2006, exhaustion and travel can still deal the best NBA teams a loss on the second night of a back-to-back.

The Rockets had two opponents during their Saturday night contest in the Staples Center: The L.A. Clippers and the schedule.

The game was the second night of a back-to-back with a 362-mile flight from Sacramento the night before. The Rockets gutted out a win partly because they rested Dwight Howard the night before. Credit freshness for the big man's 20-20 game.

Definition:

Schedule Loss: When the NBA schedule prevents a team from being competitive in a regular season game.

Example: Playing the third night of a back-to-back-to-back against an opponent who had the previous night off in the strike shortened season.

Example: Making the west coast swing and playing the final game of five in eight days in Los Angeles on the second night of a back-to-back when you played in Portland the previous night.

Here's the factors to consider before handing out a schedule loss:

  • How tough is the opponent?
  • Is the game on the road?
  • Is the game the second night of a back-to-back?
  • How many games has the team played in the previous week?
  • How much travel is involved to get to the game?
  • How much travel has the team done in the previous week?

Taking a look at the Houston Rockets schedule my not-so-trained eye identifies six regular season games as schedule losses. The opponent is tough. It's the second night of a back-to-back. The opponent got the previous night off.

These six games are the potential "schedule losses" of the 2015-2016 Houston Rockets season:

At Washington Wizards -- Wednesday, Dec. 9

Back-To-Back: Yes

Games That Week: Five games in seven days

Opponent Rest: One day

There's a good chance fatigue will set in when Houston rolls into Washington D.C. for the fourth game in six nights. This is the second night of a back-to-back and the Wizards have the preceding day off. The Rockets cut the following path across the country to arrive at the Verizon Center: Dallas, Houston (against Sacramento), Brooklyn, Washington. This is an easy spate of opponents, but nobody wants to chase after John Wall on the second night of a back-to-back. The Rockets have enough problems guarding point guards as it is.

At LA Clippers -- Monday, Jan. 18

Back-To-Back: Yes

Games That Week: Five games in seven days

Opponent Rest: One day

The Clippers are a tough opponent and this is the second time the Rockets will face them in Los Angeles on the second night of a back-to-back. To make matters worse, the Clippers have the preceding day off and the Rockets will be playing their fourth game in six days. The Rockets have the benefit of playing the Lakers the previous night, so at least they get enough time in the same hotel room to watch Trainwreck On Demand. Speaking of LeBron James, they play him two games before this one.

At New Orleans Pelicans -- Monday, January 25th

Back-To-Back: Yes

Games That Week: Four games in seven days

Opponent Rest: One day

The Rockets will face a well rested opponent enjoying their fourth consecutive home game, each played on one day of rest. Houston will face the Pelicans on the second night of a back-to-back after playing a grudge match with Dallas in Space City. This is the fourth game in six days for the Rockets and one that kicks off a road trip including Oklahoma City and San Antonio. No matter how bad the Pelicans are now, Anthony Davis should be himself after sleeping in his own bed for several days.

Washington Wizards -- Saturday, January 30th

Back-To-Back: Yes

Games That Week: Five games in seven days

Opponent Rest: One day

The opponent on Saturday isn't the biggest factor here, it's the previous night. The Rockets have to play the Oklahoma City Thunder in Oklahoma on Friday night. Both teams will be coming off one day of rest. Following that game the Rockets must return to Houston and play the rested Wizards on Saturday. The Rockets will be coming off a road trip against the Pelicans, Spurs and Thunder and playing their fifth game in seven days.

At Toronto Raptors -- Sunday, March 6th

Back-To-Back: Yes

Games That Week: Four games in seven days

Opponent Rest: One day

The Houston Rockets play at 8:30 p.m. (EST) on Saturday night in Chicago. They then play at 6:30 p.m. (EST) on Sunday in Toronto. Anyone who runs the numbers will realize the Rockets only have 22 hours between tip-offs. By the way, the Raptors have the previous day off. That is not cool, NBA. Not cool.

At Atlanta Hawks -- Saturday, March 19th

Back-To-Back: Yes

Games That Week: Four games in seven days

Opponent Rest: One day

The Rockets have the benefit of playing this back-to-back in Atlanta after getting a week of games in Houston. They play Minnesota's young legs on Friday before jumping on the plane to Atlanta. This will be the fifth game in eight days and the Hawks get a day of rest before this contest.

Leave your prediction for the Rockets record over these six games in the comments. Don't say "0-6," I just did for the sake of this article.