Basketball gods must love irony.
This is the only way to explain how Rudy Gobert – the first NBA player to test positive for COVID-19 – could become the same person to score the first and final point of the opening game to Thursday’s league restart. in the evening. Robert literally opened and closed the score on the field as the Utah Jazz defeated the New Orleans Pelicans 106-104 of The Bubble in Orlando.
“I’m just grateful” Robert told ESPN“I’m just grateful to be able to do what I love to do. After everything I’ve been through personally, and everything the world is going through right now, being able to continue to inspire millions of children around the world and continue to spread positivity is just a blessing. “
“And it’s great to start with a win, of course.”
But while Robert may be a child on the poster about how the coronavirus affected the NBA, LeBron is still the king. James hit the winning basket and make the final defensive stop to give the Lakers a 103-101 victory over the Clippers.
Before each game, the teams gathered to kneel in peaceful protest during the national anthem. And when I say that everyone is on their knees, I mean everyone, including players, coaches, referees and staff in the league.
“Have progress. But in the past, when we’ve seen progress, we’ve let our feet out of the cup. ” James told TNT after the game. “We can’t do it. We want to keep our feet on gas. Keep pushing forward. Continue to spread love throughout America. We are dealing with a lot of racism, a lot of social injustice, a lot of police brutality. Not just in my neighborhoods. Not just blacks and people of color. This is something we want to keep our ears open for. And now we have ears, but we can’t stop with our feet on the gas with what we have been doing for the last few months. “
The players challenged a rule that came into play in 1981., stating that “players, coaches and coaches must stand and line up in a dignified position on the sidelines or in the line of foul” during a game of the national anthem. “
In 1996, Denver Nuggets guard Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf tested the rule when he could not stand the anthem because of his religious and personal beliefs. He was stopped for a game and worked out an agreement with the league that allowed him to stand and put his hands in front of his face in prayer. However, he was eventually blackmailed into predicting what would happen to Colin Copernicus 20 years later in the NFL.
“I respect the unified act of peaceful protest of our social justice teams and in these unique circumstances will not impose our long-standing rule requiring us to stand while playing our national anthem,” he said. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver for pre-game demonstrations. Silver’s comments contrasted with how he and the league felt three years ago when a a note was sent in 2017 reminding all teams of the league’s rules when it comes to the anthem.
On the court, the rust was evident throughout the evening as players returned from a break in 141 days since the last game of the regular season. And not just the players were out of sync, as the referees called a combined 105 fouls on Thursday night.
The Pelicans and jazz combined for 40 turns as Jordan Clarkson stepped off the bench to lead Utah by 23 points, while Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conley scored 20 points each to go along with 14 points and 12 rebounds. For the Pelicans, Zion Williamson scored the team’s first 5 points as he finished the night with 13 points in just 15 minutes as he was still limited by the medical staff. Brandon Ingram led New Orleans with 23 points. JJ Redick had 21 and Jrue Holiday had 20.
The Lakers managed to overcome a bad shooting night, shooting 39 percent of the field and only 30.6 percent of three. Anthony Davis led all the scorers with 34 points, with James adding 16 points, 11 rebounds and 7 assists. The duo of the Clippers of Paul George and Kauhi Leonard are combined for 58 points, which is 57 percent of the final number of the Clippers.
With the way things are going in the NFL and MLB and the uncertainty surrounding college football, the NBA and WNBA seem like the only sports that can come up with this thing.
And if so, the combination of last weekend and Thursday night turned out to be one.
Basketball never stops.