Houston Rockets suffer overtime loss to Portland Trail Blazers


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Houston's James Harden goes for the basket
James Harden gave the Portland defence plenty of problems but finished up on the losing side

An understrength Houston Rockets started their NBA campaign with a narrow 128-126 overtime defeat by the Portland Trail Blazers.

The Rockets had only nine players available – one above the NBA minimum – after two positive Covid-19 tests and four others were deemed close contacts.

Their scheduled season-opener on Wednesday against Oklahoma City had been postponed.

CJ McCollum’s three-pointer with 6.9 seconds left sealed the victory.

It came after a three-pointer from James Harden with 15.3 seconds left had put the Rockets 126-125 up.

Harden, who finished with 44 points and 17 assists, matching his career high, returned after being fined $50,000 (£36,820) by the NBA for a breach violation of its coronavirus protocols.

Christian Wood added 31 points and 13 rebounds on his Rockets debut, while rookie Jae’Sean Tate managed 13 points.

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