NBA regular season

Rockets players involved in halftime incident – reports

Rockets players involved in halftime incident – reports

SETBACK. Rockets starter Kevin Porter Jr. (right) tries to drive past Nuggets guard Austin Rivers.

Troy Taormina/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Kevin Porter Jr. and assistant coach John Lucas figure in a ‘heated exchange,’ prompting the Rockets starting point guard to throw an object and leave the arena

Houston Rockets guard Kevin Porter Jr. left the arena following a heated halftime exchange with assistant coach John Lucas on Saturday night, January 1 (Sunday, January 2, Manila time), according to reports from multiple media outlets.

Lucas called out the “entire team at halftime,” according to The Athletic. Porter, the team’s starting point guard, then had “a heated exchange” with Lucas. Porter reportedly threw an object and “promptly left the arena.”

“We had a spirited debate,” Rockets head coach Stephen Silas said following the game, according to ESPN. “I have certain demands of this team as far as playing hard. … I wasn’t satisfied with the effort.”

The halftime altercation occurred during the Rockets’ 124-111 home loss to the Denver Nuggets – the team’s seventh straight defeat. Christian Wood, the Rockets’ leading scorer and rebounder, reportedly refused to sub into the game for the second half.

“Coach’s decision,” Silas said postgame, regarding Wood’s second-half benching.

Wood came off the bench Saturday after missing a mandatory COVID-19 testing window, according to The Athletic. Wood’s “effort level” was a focus of Lucas’ fiery halftime speech, per the report.

Wood averages 17.3 points and 10.6 rebounds, while Porter chips in 13.0 points and 5.9 assists for the Rockets, who own the worst record in the Western Conference at 10-27. –