The NBA made it one day before suffering the first of what could be many Covid-19 setbacks.
The league was forced to postpone a game between the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder scheduled for Wednesday, the second night of this nascent season, after three Rockets players had positive or inconclusive tests, four more players were quarantined and James Harden was unavailable for their season opener after the NBA ruled that Houston’s disgruntled superstar violated health and safety protocols.
The result was that the Rockets had fewer than the eight available players required by the league to play on Wednesday.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver said this week that he anticipated “bumps in the road along the way” after moving outside of a controlled, bubble environment and insisted the league wouldn’t have begun the season if executives weren’t confident in their ability to pull it off.
But the first postponement and the looming possibility of more reflect the problems of starting this fragile NBA season in the teeth of a pandemic.