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League postpones Thunder-Rockets game due to COVID-19

Randy Mancini 50 December 23, 2020

December 24, 2020

(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 Rockets All-Star guard James Harden would have been unavailable for the game because of a violation of the Health and Safety Protocols, the league said in a statement.

“The Rockets do not have the league-required eight available players to proceed with tonight’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder,” the NBA said.

It added that the remaining members of the Rockets tested negative for COVID-19 on Wednesday.

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 and 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)