Rockets And Thunder’s Season Opener Postponed After Covid Decimates Houston Lineup


Wednesday night’s game between the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder, the teams’ first match of the season, has been postponed, making it the first NBA game so far to be impacted by Covid just a day after the league tipped off the delayed 2020-21 season.

Key Facts

The Rockets reportedly are not able to meet the league minimum of eight players since so many are out due to Covid.

Three players have had either positive or inconclusive tests, four have been quarantined due to contact tracing and star guard James Harden is out because of violating the NBA’s Covid safety protocols, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.

Most of the league’s teams are set to tip off their seasons Wednesday night.

What To Watch For

The NBA has implemented coronavirus guidelines that include severe penalties for teams that violate guidelines, including the possibility of game forfeitures. The league is reviewing video showing a maskless Harden at a party that reportedly took place at a strip club. Harden denied the party was at a strip club, but seemed to acknowledge Wednesday the video was authentic.

What We Don’t Know

It’s not clear when the game will be rescheduled. 

Key Background

The NBA is playing out this season in regular arenas around the league, requiring teams to travel from city to city. This is in stark contrast to how the NBA ended its 2019-20 season, playing out the last few games of its regular season and the playoffs inside a “bubble” at Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex in Florida. No players tested positive in the bubble and no games were postponed.

Further Reading

Report: NBA Plans Severe Penalties For Covid Violations, Including ‘Game Forfeitures’ (Forbes)

James Harden Takes To Social Media To Deny He Went To Strip Club (Forbes)

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