Shorthanded Rockets flying to Portland to begin season Saturday

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Ben DuBose
·2 min read
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Despite losing many players to either positive COVID-19 tests (Ben McLemore, KJ Martin Jr.) or contact tracing associated with a positive test, it appears the Rockets will have enough active players to begin their 2020-21 regular season on Saturday in Portland. Houston’s originally scheduled opener on Wednesday was postponed due to COVID issues.

Per the Houston Chronicle, the Rockets expect to have nine active players. which is one above the minimum of eight for an NBA game. Besides McLemore and Martin, the contact tracing absences are headlined by veterans John Wall, Eric Gordon, and DeMarcus Cousins.

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 the 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 the known results as of late Friday.

Saturday’s tipoff is scheduled for 9:00 p.m. Central, with the game shown in usual Houston markets on AT&T SportsNet Southwest. Led by the veteran backcourt of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, the Trail Blazers enter at 0-1 after a 20-point home loss to Utah to open the season.

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