‘Hopefully, everybody grows from it’: Houston Rockets suspending Kevin Porter Jr., Christian Wood for Monday’s game against Philadelphia

Houston Rockets guard Kevin Porter Jr. (3) drives into Chicago Bulls guard Lonzo Ball (2) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke) (Michael Wyke, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

HOUSTON – The Houston Rockets have suspended starters Kevin Porter Jr. and Christian Wood for Monday night’s game against the Philadelphia 76ers for conduct detrimental to the team.

Neither played during the second half of the Rockets’ 124-111 loss on Saturday to the Denver Nuggets. ESPN and The Athletic both reported separate issues that caused this.

For Wood, he was benched from his usual starting lineup spot for that game, and according to the reports, he refused to sub into the game in the second half.

“Christian, we had a disagreement as far as him going back into the game in the second half,” Silas said on Monday. “And I decided it’d be best for the team, and it’s very much attached to accountability for everybody on our team, and my job is to hold people accountable to their actions and not overreact at all, but to react appropriately, so that was the decision.”

Porter reportedly left the arena after a heated exchange at halftime with Rockets assistant coach John Lucas.

“He is emotional,” Silas said of Porter. “He’s a competitor. He’s a good kid. He owns up to his mistakes when he makes them and tries not to make mistakes again. And that’s pretty much all you can ask for from a guy. So yeah, we put a lot into him and we knew that he had a past before he came here, but we hold everybody accountable for what they do. He crossed the line and he’ll be back, and we’ll still love him. We’ll still grow with him. Everything will be okay. So yeah, we spent a lot of time (on him), so for this to be blown out of proportion, it should not be. It should be a bump in the road. And we continue on. Because if you really love somebody, you don’t take one instance and say that’s it or make it to where it’s more than it is. You love them, and when stuff like this happens, you love them even more.”

Both Wood and Porter are widely considered two of the Rockets’ better players on the roster.

Wood is the team’s leading scorer and rebounder, averaging 16.8 points and 10.3 rebounds, with the rebounding average good for ninth in the league. Wood also is tied for the team lead in blocks at 0.9 a game.

Porter averages 12.8 points and a team-high 5.7 assists. He also leads the team with 1.3 steals a game.

Silas hopes the two incidents can help the team grow closer together.

“One thing about disputes – you always come out of it with a better understanding of each other,” he said. “With what happened, hopefully, everybody grows from it. Maybe it doesn’t happen immediately. Hopefully, it does, but I know everybody in the locker room and those guys who were involved know where I stand, and know what lines can be crossed and what lines can’t. And we move on.”

The Rockets currently have a 10-27 record heading into Monday’s game. Their adjusted starting lineup against the 76ers will now have Eric Gordon and rookie Jalen Green at guard, with Daniel Theis starting at center and Jae’Sean Tate and Garrison Mathews manning the forward positions.

Video of Stephen Silas speaking Monday about the Porter and Wood suspensions can be viewed below.

Ahead of the Houston Rockets' game against the Philadelphia 76ers on Jan. 3, 2022, head coach Stephen Silas talks about the suspensions of starters Kevin Porter Jr. and Christian Wood.

About the Author:

Born in Canada but raised in Houston, Howard joined KPRC 2 in 2021 after five years at ESPN. Before that, Howard was a reporter on Houston Rockets and Houston Astros game broadcasts. Among the events that Howard has covered on site: the NBA bubble and the Basketball Hall of Fame inductions for both Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady. He's H-town proud!