Report: Rockets' Kevin Porter Jr. Left Arena During Game After 'Heated' Halftime Talk

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIJanuary 2, 2022

Houston Rockets guard Kevin Porter Jr. (3) reaches over to block the shot attempt by Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, Jan. 1, 2022, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)
AP Photo/Michael Wyke

Houston Rockets point guard Kevin Porter Jr. reportedly "lost his temper during a heated halftime discussion and didn’t return to the court" during his team's home game against the Denver Nuggets on Saturday, per ESPN's Tim MacMahon and Adrian Wojnarowski.

Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium offered more details: 

Shams Charania @ShamsCharania

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

Sources: Wood was benched to start the loss to Denver after missing a mandatory COVID-19 testing window. Lucas called out entire team at halftime, and focused on Wood's effort level. Porter had a heated exchange with the longtime assistant, and drove out of arena at halftime. <a href="https://t.co/24oAwV2GqC">https://t.co/24oAwV2GqC</a>

Porter Jr. eventually left the Toyota Center during the second half of the game, which Denver won 124-111 thanks largely to a 47-point second quarter.

Porter had eight points on 3-of-5 shooting, three assists and a block in 16 minutes before leaving. Armoni Brooks started for Porter to begin the second half.

The Rockets were late to return to the court in the second half. After the game, Rockets head coach Stephen Silas told reporters that the team was "angry" and had a "spirited debate" at halftime.    

Silas also said that big man Christian Wood broke a team rule, which is why he did not start Saturday. He said the coaches decided not to play him in the second half.

Mark Berman @MarkBermanFox26

Stephen Silas on why Christian Wood was not in the starting lineup: “He broke a team rule and I didn’t start him and then we decided not to play him in the second half.” <a href="https://t.co/7TFQHFa8qK">pic.twitter.com/7TFQHFa8qK</a>

According to The Athletic's Kelly Iko, Porter Jr. spoke to Rockets brass and was "apologetic for the overreaction." 

It's been a tough season for the Rockets, who started 1-16 and bounced back to win seven straight before going 2-11 ever since. They're currently riding a seven-game losing streak, and the team has given up 125.1 points per game during that span. 

Houston will look to get back on track when it visits the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday at 7 p.m. ET.