Four months and a total of 141 days later, the official NBA games finally returned, with a nationally televised doubleheader that no one was allowed to miss.
As we all knew, all four teams got together during the national anthem prior to the games and took a knee, as a form of protest of the social injustice in the United States.
Utah Jazz 106-104 New Orleans Pelicans
The Utah Jazz pulled off a great win over the New Orleans Pelicans in the opener. Curiously enough, Rudy Gobert, the first guy who tested positive in the NBA back in March, was the player who sealed the win for the Jazz.
Despite trailing for the majority of the game, Quinn Snyder’s team managed to pull of a comeback led by Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conley, with both registering 20 points each. Brandon Ingram had a chance to win the game with a three in the last game but didn’t come through.
For New Orleans it was a disappointing loss, specially because they led for as many as 17 points. That's tied for the largest blown lead by them for the season and it also matches the largest comeback of the season for Utah.
Also, Zion Williamson, who only practiced with the team twice before the opener, was on a minute restriction as played as many as 15 minutes, where he registered 13 points and shot 6-8 from the field.
"It's not even just conditioning; it's just getting my flow to the game back. This is the NBA, this is the best players in the world; and you want to feel comfortable. I don't want to hurt my team more than I helped them in a sense, if you understand me." Williamson said postgame.
Los Angeles Clippers 101-103 Los Angeles Lakers
The battle for Los Angeles is real, and even though the Clippers didn’t have Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell available for the game, they still put on a show against a fully-healthy Lakers squad.
After a back and forth from both teams, it really came down to the last play, where LeBron James put the clamps on Paul George and didn’t let him get a good look from three point line. This great defensive effort by ‘the king’ came right after he gave the Lakers the go-ahead basket with less than 15 seconds to play in the game.
James clinched his 43rd. double double of the season while Anthony Davis led all scorers, recording 34 points along with 8 rebounds.
On the other end, Kawhi Leonard and ‘PG13’ really stepped up for the Clippers, combining for 58 points, but still wasn’t enough against the team with the best record in the Western Conference.
“We know there’s gonna be a lot of drama,” Coach Frank Vogel said on the Clippers-Lakers rivalry. He also added the grit by James to get his own rebound and give the Lakers the lead at the end of regulation. "Great competitive spirit play by LeBron."