Three things to look for in the Houston Rockets season opener

P.J. Tucker #17 of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
P.J. Tucker #17 of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /
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Houston Rockets
Brodric Thomas #33 of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images) /

The Houston Rockets will be the last team to tip-off their season after their opener was postponed due to COVID. Here are three things to look for as the Rockets start their season.

The Houston Rockets will open their season tonight against the Portland Trail Blazers after a positive COVID-19 test on their coaching staff postponed their scheduled opener against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Their season opener won’t feature a full-strength lineup as John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Eric Gordon, Ben McLemore, Mason Jones, and Kenyon Martin Jr. are all out self-isolating. Fortunately, only McLemore and Martin Jr. tested positive for the COVID-19, while the others are out self-quarantining as a precautionary measure.

The Rockets are the first team to have to endure a Covid related crisis this season but by virtue of being able to dress nine players, which is one more than the NBA’s minimum of eight healthy players, they will open their season on the road in Portland. It’s disappointing that both John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins will have to wait to make their Rockets debut, but there is some good COVID related news.

James Harden, even after his most recent flaunting of the NBA’s covid-19 safety protocols, is set to make his season debut with the team after testing negative for the virus. Harden might not be with the franchise for the entire season but having him ready to play during a COVID crisis gives the team their best chance to win.

After a tumultuous offseason, the Rockets’ season has already gotten off to a shaky start but a good showing against the Trail Blazers would undoubtedly change the mood around the franchise. The old adage that, “winning cures everything,” might not apply to the team’s current medical situation but it’d help shift the conversation towards what is happening on the court and away from what’s happening off of it.

The Rockets still have their eyes on the postseason, even amid the Harden trade chatter and a pandemic. Their first game will offer a glimpse of what’s to come, these are the three things to look out for in their season opener.

Next: Thing to look for No. 3