This year has not been a normal year due to the novel coronavirus which has claimed many lives let alone disrupted what we called a normal way of life. This disruption did not spare sport and the National Basketball Association(NBA) was also carried along as it was put on hold due to the devastating effect COVID19 had on the United States.
Last night, Thursday 30th July, marked the NBA’s first game after being forced to shut down due to COVID19 141 days ago. After 141 days of no action, the scene was set with “Black Lives Matter” painted onto the court, was the first of what is expected to be many silent game-day statements by players, referees and coaches who will kneel to call attention to many issues foremost among them, police brutality following the deaths of, among others, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd in recent months.
Utah Jazz 106-104 New Orleans
The first game of the restart was action-filled that it came down to last moments as Rudy Gobert scored two free throws with less than 7 seconds left to mark a 14-point, 12-rebound, and three-block performance, leading Jazz to a 106-104 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans. Jordan Clarkson scored 23 points for Utah and helped lead a second-half comeback, while Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conley each added 20.
Zion Williamson scored 13 points despite missing a fortnight of practice after leaving the team for a family medical matter on July 16. His playing time was limited to less than 20 minutes and had to watch the tense finish from the sidelines after passing a late fitness test. JJ Redick scored 21, while Jrue Holiday added 20 points as New Orleans led for most of the game by as many as 16 points taking a 60-44 advantage into halftime.
LA Clippers 101-103 LA Lakers
The second game of the day had Lebron James’ Lakers looking rusty but that did not stop them from topping Kawhi Leonard’s Clippers 103-101. Anthony Davis scored a game-high 34 points, while Lebron had 16 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists and the go-ahead basket with 12.8 seconds left moving Lakers closer to clinching the No 1 seed in the Western Conference playoffs. Kyle Kuzma came through with 16 points as Lakers moved six and a half games ahead of the Clippers.
On the other side, Paul George scored 30 points for the Clippers while Kawhi Leonard added 28, for the side who had an 11-point lead midway through the third in a game with deep ebbs and flows. George’s three-pointer with 1:50 left cut the Lakers’ lead to just a point at 99-98. James had his layup on their next possession canceled out by George’s three-pointer to tie the game at 101 with 29 seconds to go.
Clippers, like pelicans have themselves to blame for squandering their lead earlier on in the game.