NBA-League postpones Thunder-Rockets game, Harden fined

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NBA: Playoffs-Oklahoma City Thunder at Houston Rockets

(Reuters) -The National Basketball Association postponed Wednesday's game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets after three Rockets players returned tests that were either positive or inconclusive for COVID-19.

Four other players are quarantined due to contact tracing and the rest of the team tested negative on Wednesday, the league said.

The NBA also fined Rockets All-Star guard James Harden $50,000 for violating the league's Health and Safety Protocols, which prohibit attending indoor social gatherings of 15 or more people or entering bars, lounges and clubs.

"Harden violated these rules when he attended a private indoor party on Monday, Dec. 21," the league said in a statement.

With an additional member of the Rockets out with an injury, the team did not have the league-required eight available players to proceed with Wednesday's contest.

The game, which was scheduled to be held before a limited number of fans at the Toyota Center in Houston, would have been the season opener for both teams. The postponement underscores how challenging it will be for the league to play its season outside of the bio-secure bubble it used successfully in Orlando, Florida, last season.

(Reporting by Rory Carroll in Los Angeles; Editing by Peter Cooney & Shri Navaratnam)