Everything continued the same in the resumption of the regular season in the Orlando bubble, where tonight the first two NBA games were played after more than four and a half months of waiting because of the coronavirus pandemic.
After two weeks of not having any positive among the players who have been confined at the Walt Disney World Resort, the action came with the first duel that had the protagonists of the Utah Jazz and the New Orleans Pelicans, followed by Los Angeles Lakers and their Clippers neighbours. The triumphs went to the favourite teams, with the same margin of points and the same start of the match, all the players kneeling while the national anthem was performed.
After the social demand of the players, the action arrived and the French corner Rudy Gobert, who was the first COVID-19 positive in the NBA and which generated the immediate suspension of the competition on March 11, also wanted to be the protagonist by getting the first basket of the return to action and the two free throws that gave the victory to the Jazz by 106-104.
Rudy Gobert, who was the first COVID-19 positive in the NBA, got the first basket
If Gobert scored the decisive points, in addition to finishing 14 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks, baseman Jordan Clarkson contributed 23 points and was the leader of the six Utah team players’ list that had six with double-digit numbers.
Clarkson, although he missed seven of eight triple shots, made 8 of 17 on the field, plus 6 out of 7 from the personal line, grabbed five rebounds, gave three assists and recovered two balls.
Escort Donovan Mitchell reached 20 points, with five rebounds, five assists and three catches to help the victory, while Australian forward Joe Ingles scored 13 points.
Jazz, 106- Pelicans, 104
The Jazz consolidate in fourth place in the ranking by having already secured the pass to the playoffs
Ingram with 23 points was the leader of the Pelicans, who also had the support of guard Jrue Holiday with 20, five rebounds, four assists and three steals. While rookie power forward Zion Williamson, who ultimately played after overcoming the four-day quarantine for leaving the bubble, scored 13 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the field.
Nor did JJRedick’s 21 points, including three triples of eight attempts, change the luck of the Pelicans (28-37), who needed to win the game in order to fight for eighth place in the Western Conference, which can give the right to be in the playoffs. While the Jazz (42-23) consolidate in fourth place in the classification by having already secured the pass to the playoffs.
Lakers, 103- Clippers, 101
Lakers hit first
Then came the duel between the Los Angeles teams and star forward LeBron James re-emerged as the decisive player by scoring the basket that decided the Lakers’ victory.
Although the Lakers went as far as nine points (96-87) with less than five minutes to play, the final luck of the victory came when Clippers forward Paul George missed the last shot to the basket, a triple attempt.
Anthony Davis, with 34 points, eight rebounds and four assists, was the leading scorer for the Lakers, James became again the player who starred in the decisive actions, such as the winning basket, with 12.9 seconds to go, which he managed after recovering the ball that had not entered with his first penetration shot through the centre. James finished the game with 16 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists and had five turnovers.
While power forward Kyle Kuzma, who followed the sixth player when leaving the bench, was also key in the Lakers’ victory by contributing 16 points, seven rebounds, gave two assists and put a stopper.
Dion Waiters, the Lakers’ acquisition to restart the season, had a good job with 11 reserve points after scoring 5 of 10 field goals, despite missing five of six triple attempts.
George with 30 points, including six 11-pointers 3-pointers, led the Clippers’ attack, who also had Kawhi Leonard as their second-leading scorer with 28 points.