NBA postpones Oklahoma City Thunder-Houston Rockets game


The Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder game scheduled for Wednesday night has been postponed as the Rockets do not have the league-required eight available players needed to proceed with the contest, the NBA announced.

The NBA said three Rockets players have returned tests that were either positive or inconclusive for the coronavirus under the NBA’s testing program. In addition, four other players are quarantined under the contact tracing protocol, and Chris Clemons (ruptured Achilles) was unavailable because of injury.

The league also said Rockets star James Harden was fined $50,000 and was “unavailable due to a violation of the Health and Safety Protocol” based on a video, published by Black Sports Online, that has been circulating in recent days in which he appeared maskless at a Houston club.

The NBA made the announcement at about 5:30 p.m. ET, with tipoff scheduled for 8 p.m. ET in Houston.

Contact tracing protocols caused the Rockets to send home three players Wednesday after rookie teammate Kenyon Martin Jr. returned a positive coronavirus test and needed to be tested again for confirmation and was awaiting those results, sources told ESPN.

John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins and Martin were among Rockets players gathered on Tuesday evening at a player’s apartment away from the team facility. They were getting haircuts, sources told ESPN.

Wall and Cousins tested negative for the coronavirus Wednesday morning, but are quarantined due to contact tracing, as are Rockets rookie Jae’Sean Tate and two-way player Mason Jones, sources told ESPN.

The NBA’s new protocol on contact tracing gives the league the ability to make decisions on possible timelines for return if players continue to test negative.

The Rockets already had one player, Ben McLemore, away from the team for a few days with the coronavirus, sources said.

Houston’s next scheduled game is at the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday.

The Thunder will fly back to Oklahoma City on Wednesday night and then will leave Friday afternoon to fly to Charlotte for their new season opener against the Hornets.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Bobby Marks, Tim Bontemps and Tim MacMahon contributed to this report.



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