James Harden says Danuel House bubble incident affected Rockets: 'It's a distraction'

Cassandra Negley
·2 min read

The NBA investigation into the Houston Rockets’ Danuel House violating bubble protocol was a distraction to the team in the Western Conference semifinals, James Harden said after Saturday’s loss.

The Los Angeles Lakers finished off a 4-1 series victory over the Rockets with a dominating 119-96 blowout in Game 5. House missed the final three games of the series after the league determined he had broken NBA bubble protocol. It was tied, 1-1, through the first two games.

Harden: House’s bubble exit a distraction

Harden was asked about the House situation in his post-game media comments.

Harden told reporters:

“Very, very disappointing. And it affected us. Obviously we still have to go out there and play a basketball game, play a series. But it affected us because obviously [it’s] just a distraction and he was a huge part of our rotation. But you know we still had to go out there and compete and try to get games, try to win games.”

House, a 6-foot-6 forward, averaged 11.4 points and 5.8 rebounds in 31.0 minutes over the nine playoff games.

House exits bubble for having unauthorized guest

James Harden and Danuel House in red Rockets jerseys slap hands.
James Harden said the situation with Danuel House was a distraction in the playoffs. (AP Photo/John Amis)

House missed Game 3 due to “personal reasons” and Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes later reported the league was investigating him for allegedly allowing a female COVID-19 testing official into his hotel room.

The investigation found he spent several hours with the “unauthorized guest” in his room on Sept. 8, breaking NBA bubble protocol. House left the bubble.

The COVID-19 official did not implicate House when questioned, per a report by The Athletic, but did say she had contact with center Tyson Chandler.

Chandler also missed Game 3 due to “personal reasons” and was reportedly cleared in the NBA investigation.

It was the first major violation of NBA bubble protocol since it was set up in July.

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