Ben McLemore, P.J. Tucker Adjust to Life in NBA Bubble
The Rockets arrived in Orlando on Thursday, with their first practice at ESPN's Wide World of Sports complex slated for Saturday afternoon. With time to kill before their first practice, Houston took Friday as an opportunity to get settled. Guard Ben McLemore didn't seem too opposed to the Rockets' new home.
Not every Rockets' player was as easily satisfied in the bubble as McLemore. Houston forward P.J. Tucker reportedly brought 60 pairs of sneakers to Orlando, and he made another crucial addition upon arriving at Disney’s Grand Floridian hotel. Tucker secured an 85-inch Samsung TV for his room, installing the television on Friday night. If the Rockets are in Orlando through September, Tucker's decision will certainly prove to be worthwhile.
Three Rockets players did not join Houston in their flight to Orlando on Thursday, as James Harden, Russell Westbrook and Luc Mbah a Moute stayed in Houston. The trio of players are expected to join their team "in the near future," per The Athletic's Shams Charania. Mike D'Antoni joined the Rockets on Thursday's flight as the 69-year-old head coach plans to coach with a mask for the remainder of 2019-20. D'Antoni noted his comfort with appearing in Orlando on Tuesday.
"I have no apprehension, because I know what I'll do to prevent [contracting COVID-19]," D'Antoni told the media in a Zoom call. "I know the NBA will do everything they can do avoid it."
D'Antoni and the Rockets currently sit No. 6 in the Western Conference at 40–24. They will resume their regular season on July 31 as they face the Mavericks. Tip-off is slated for 8 p.m. CT.