Two Houston Rockets players reportedly refused to participate in the second half after a big halftime brawl, with one of them departing the Toyota Center entirely. During Saturday’s 124-111 loss to the Denver Nuggets, Rockets point guard Kevin Porter Jr. reportedly “threw an object” during the halftime confrontation before leaving the building.
Porter Jr. lost his cool, according to ESPN and The Athletic when assistant coach John Lucas chastised him and other players for their effort in the first half. Porter Jr. had previously lost his cool on the bench during the first half when confronted with the identical scenario, according to sources.
Christian Wood, who had a team-high 17.3 points and 10.6 rebounds in 31.5 minutes per game before Saturday, was another player who was questioned during the tense locker room argument.
Wood went scoreless for eight minutes in the first half (with one rebound) as Houston was outscored by 17 points, and he did not participate in the second half despite being on the bench.
Wood sitting out the second half was a “coach’s decision,” according to Stephen Silas, while Shams Charania of The Athletic stated that the centre “refused to replace into the game in the second half,” contradicting the head coach’s words.
For the first time in 76 games, Wood did not start, and Rockets coach Silas acknowledged that he was being reprimanded for breaking team rules.
Sources: After Rockets assistant John Lucas called out multiple players including Kevin Porter Jr. and Christian Wood at halftime tonight vs. Nuggets, Porter had a heated exchange with Lucas, threw an object and promptly left the arena – and Wood refused to sub into second half.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) January 2, 2022
After the game, Silas said of the situation with Wood, “We’re basically going to keep that internal.” “However, he violated a team rule, so I didn’t start him and opted not to use him in the second half.”
Wood was benched after missing a mandated Covid-19 testing window, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, and he refused to come back into the game in the second half.
After the game, head coach Silas refused to address Porter Jr. by name but did say: “In terms of playing hard, I have certain expectations of this group. I was dissatisfied with my performance.”
Although Porter Jr. has been hampered by a left thigh contusion, that was not the issue that led to his absence after halftime, according to ESPN. The Rockets announced during the second half that Porter Jr. was questionable to return due to his left thigh being assessed. After Porter Jr. contacted the organisation to apologise for the overreaction, a Rockets source told The Athletic.
Houston is now 10-27 and has dropped seven straight games. The Rockets have struggled since James Harden forced a trade last year, and more roster turbulence could be on the way before the team’s current makeover is through, especially if this recent event is any indication.
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