The opening night for the NBA couldn’t have gone any better. It was headlined by two games that ended up going down to the wire.
It started off with the Utah Jazz and New Orleans Pelicans. Young star Zion Williamson was back on the floor, but his minutes were limited.
He didn’t play near the end of the game, which allowed the Jazz to make a comeback. Donovan Mitchell leads the Jazz to the first win in the bubble.
“Of course, we wish we could’ve played him down the stretch, but we used the minutes that were given to us, and that’s the way it is,” said Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry. “The medical people said we played them in the minutes that we’re allowed for us to play him and just move on.”
Next up was the battle of the two Los Angeles teams. The Lakers and Clippers put on a show as plenty of star power filled the floor. It was neck and neck for most of the game, but Anthony Davis was able to lead the Lakers to a win.
It had a lot to do with Lebron James’ defense down the stretch. He was able to shut down Kawhi Leanord and Paul George during the last moments of the game.
Fans even found themselves in the arena for these games, but maybe not in-person. The NBA has set up a video screen in the arena which gives a live feed of fans. This has been the NBA’s version of baseball having cardboard cutouts in the bleachers.
Opening night was followed by another great day full of NBA action.
Bigger than Basketball
Many of these players are playing for much more than just a championship in this restart. The country is in the midst of a social justice movement, and these players are showing their support.
Many of them have replaced the name on the back of their jersey with phrases such as “Black Lives Matter” or “Love Us.” The leaders of the league, such as James, had a lot to say after the game.
“We want to continue to keep our foot on the gas, continue to push forward. Continue to spread love throughout America. We’re dealing with a lot of racism, a lot of social injustice, a lot of police brutality, not only in my neighborhoods, not only with black people and people of color. It’s something that we want to continue to have people’s ears open to. We have ears now, but we cannot stop. Let’s have our foot on the gas like we’ve been doing the last few months,” said James.
The players have the support of the fans and the league. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver removed the rule, which made players stand for the anthem.
“I respect our teams’ unified act of peaceful protest for social justice,” Silver said. “And under these unique circumstances will not enforce our long-standing rule requiring standing during the playing of our national anthem.”