Houston Rockets Probable Playing 5 at the Orlando Bubble as Team Updates Availability of Russell Westbrook and Austin Rivers

Published 07/24/2020, 1:38 PM EDT

Houston Rockets superstar point guard Russell Westbrook is playing in the NBA restart a week after news of his positive COVID test broke out. The Houston Rockets were worried about the availability of their guard in this restart, but he is available from the get-go.


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Throughout the league, there have been a plethora of positive tests. The Brooklyn Nets lost almost half their team to positive tests and safety concerns. COVID is a tricky thing to live with, but the NBA is dealing with it. The latest round of tests brought back 0 positive tests inside the bubble. The system seems to be working well. This positive news is probably what prompted Westbrook to return to active practice and play. Westbrook practiced with the Rockets twice after serving his quarantine.

The 0 positive tests in the bubble is an encouraging sign. It affirms safety of the players and staff interacting with each other. Despite the negative tests, precautions are maintained. Sorry, Dwight Howard.


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Russell Westbrook plans to play in the Rockets' scrimmage against the Raptors tonight, per a source. He has practiced twice since clearing the NBA's quarantine protocol.

— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) July 24, 2020

Houston Rockets possible line-up in the bubble

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – MARCH 02: James Harden #13 and Russell Westbrook #0 of the Houston Rockets in action against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on March 02, 2020 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. New York Knicks defeated the Houston Rockets 125-123. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

The Rockets have the most interesting line-up situation in the entire restart, due to their small-ball lineup. The Rockets traded starting center Clint Capela to the Atlanta Hawks in a three-team deal which got the Robert Covington from the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Covington usually plays at the three as a small forward. For the Rockets, he is a power forward, moving the 6’5″ PJ Tucker to center. This means Covington (6’7″) is the tallest player in the starting lineup. The only 7-footer on the team is 37-year-old Tyson Chandler, who has barely featured this year. James Harden is doing what he does. He leads the league in scoring.

The team relies on the trademark fast-paced offense of Mike D’Antoni, who has seen success in the league with the Rockets and the Phoenix Suns. The team leans on transition defense plays, forcing turnovers rather than relying on rebounds.

The offense is perimeter-based. Point guard Westbrook is their best post-scoring threat. He is the most efficient post-scorer this season, so the offense has its merits. Westbrook has a heavy load, as the backup point guard, Austin Rivers, left the bubble due to an urgent family matter.

Rockets guard Austin Rivers has left the Orlando bubble due to an urgent family matter, sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium.

— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 24, 2020

Starting line-up

PG: Russell Westbrook

SG: James Harden

SF: Daniel House/Eric Gordon


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PF: Robert Covington

C: P.J. Tucker



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Source: Twitter


Ishaan Bhattacharya

1452 articles

Ishaan Bhattacharya is an NBA, NCAA Basketball, and Combat Sports writer at EssentiallySports. Currently, Ishaan is pursuing a Post Graduate Degree in Journalism from Xavier's Institute of Communication. Previously, Ishaan has written for The Indian Express, The Quint, Sportskeeda, and WrestleClub.