The Rockets visit the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday in the opening game of the 2020-21 regular season for Houston. If you’re wondering how you can watch the action live, you’ve come to the right place.
The Rockets will be very shorthanded, with six players unavailable due to either positive tests for COVID-19 (Ben McLemore, KJ Martin Jr.) or from contact tracing after possible exposure (John Wall, Eric Gordon, DeMarcus Cousins, Mason Jones). In all, Houston should have nine active players, just one above the NBA’s minimum threshold of eight to play.
According to the team’s injury report, players expected to be available include guards James Harden, David Nwaba, Sterling Brown, and Brodric Thomas; forwards Danuel House Jr., PJ Tucker, and Jae’Sean Tate; and centers Christian Wood and Bruno Caboclo.
There’s no guarantee that Saturday night’s game will go forward, since Houston is close enough to the minimum number of active players that an unexpected positive test result on gameday could change the calculus. However, the fact that the team flew to Portland is a clear signal that they anticipate playing, based on known results as of late Friday.
Here’s when you should tune in to see the opener:
Date: Saturday, Dec. 26
Time: 9 p.m. Central
TV Channel: AT&T SportsNet Southwest
Live stream: fuboTV in Houston markets (watch for free)
Led by the veteran backcourt of All-Star Damian Lillard and running mate CJ McCollum, the Blazers enter at 0-1 after a 20-point home loss to Utah to open the season. Meanwhile, the Rockets are 0-0, since Wednesday’s planned opener was postponed due to COVID-19 issues.
Houston (44-28) was the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference last season, while Portland (35-39) finished at No. 8. Both teams lost in five games to the eventual champion Lakers in best-of-seven playoff series.
Probable starting lineups
Guard: James Harden
Guard: David Nwaba or Sterling Brown
Forward: Danuel House Jr.
Forward: PJ Tucker
Center: Christian Wood
Portland Trail Blazers
Guard: Damian Lillard
Guard: CJ McCollum
Forward: Derrick Jones Jr.
Forward: Robert Covington
Center: Jusuf Nurkic
Saturday will be the first time for Covington to face his former team since being traded from Houston to Portland last month. The Rockets acquired Trevor Ariza and a 2020 first-round draft selection for Covington, and those assets were then moved to Detroit in a deal for Wood.