From the moment the referee’s whistle sounded on the first game, it was a joyful moment to be an NBA fan. Finally, basketball is here to stay.
After 141 days since that fateful night in March, our favourite basketball players are back in action to where we’ve been treated to two thrilling games.
The Jazz eked out a close victory against the Pelicans while the Lakers won the battle of LA in what was a tight affair versus their rivals in the Clippers.
As we welcome the best basketball league back, here is today’s set of NBA 2020 highlights presented to you by SBOBET.
Utah Jazz 106-104 New Orleans Pelicans
This game is probably considered as Rudy Gobert going full circle.
It can be remembered that he was the first NBA player confirmed to have COVID-19 which led to the season’s suspension, so it was fitting for him to make an impact right away when he scored the first basket of the bubble.
But other than that, the Quin Snyder-mentored club struggled in key stretches this game as the Pelicans led by as many as 16 points in the first half.
When the second half came, the Jazz were able to mount a furious rally led by Jordan Clarkson, as the Jazz outscored the Pelicans 58-44 in the final two periods.
Jordan Clarkson finished with 23 points while his backcourt mates in Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conley added 20 points apiece.
As for the Pelicans, they were being led by Brandon Ingram who scored 23 points and eight rebounds, while JJ Redick and Jrue Holiday helped too notching 21 and 20 points respectively.
Their star rookie in Zion Williamson, who briefly left the bubble to tend to family matters last week, played in limited minutes and finished with 13 points – highlighted by a couple of alley-oop throw downs.
The game went back and forth in the final period and the game had to be decided in the closing moments.
With less than one minute left, Brandon Ingram managed to draw level when he knocked down some clutch free throws.
In the ensuing possession, Mike Conley missed a layup with less than 20 seconds to go but Utah corralled the offensive rebound for one more chance at a basket.
Donovan Mitchell drove into the lane and he was surrounded by multiple Pelicans, and that gave him an opening to feed the ball to a cutting Rudy Gobert for a possible dunk – leaving Derrick Favors having to foul him in order to earn those points at the line.
Gobert would calmly sink the foul shots and the Jazz held on for the victory when Brandon Ingram missed a last-gasp three-pointer.
“For Donovan to find Rudy at the end of the game there is a heck of a play, and then Rudy goes and makes the two free throws. Those guys have done that hundreds and hundreds of times,” said Jazz coach Quin Snyder.
The Pelicans were heavily favoured to take the eighth seed in the Western Conference. But this loss against the Jazz hurts their NBA 2020 odds a bit of doing so.
Los Angeles Lakers 103-101 Los Angeles Clippers
This was pointed out by my colleague as a must-watch game, and it didn’t disappoint.
The Los Angeles Lakers came out the gates firing, especially in the first quarter to where they outscored the Clippers, 35-23.
However, the Doc Rivers-coached squad would turn their defence up a notch as they stifled the Lakers to getting any good looks.
The Lakers couldn’t make a shot as they went 1-for-10 from the field to end the first half, and it was followed by nine straight missed shots heading into the third period.
But eventually, the men clad in purple and gold would turn things around by trimming the Clippers’ 11-point lead to only one heading into the penultimate quarter.
The fourth period was a feast for NBA fans as we were treated to a shootout.
In the last two minutes, the LA-based teams exchanged leads with clutch baskets from Paul George and LeBron James.
The Lakers led by three in under a minute up until Paul George hit a stepback three to draw level at 101.
In the ensuing possession, LeBron James charged down the lane and missed a floater, but he was able to glide past multiple Clippers to put back his own miss and take the lead with 12 seconds remaining.
LeBron James would help his team seal the win when he prevented Kawhi Leonard from getting a decent look and he covered Paul George, who misfired a game-tying three-point attempt.
Anthony Davis led all scorers with 34 points along with eight rebounds, while his co-star in LeBron James had 16 points, 11 rebounds, and seven assists.
Paul George and Kawhi Leonard combined for 58 points in the losing effort for the Clippers.
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