• Kaunda Chama

NBA season resumption brings thrills

March 11th was undoubtedly a sad day for African and all NBA fans when the season had to be suspended due to the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic – Six months into the regular season, fans saw all NBA action come to a crashing halt with no definite answer as to if and when the 2020-2021 season would be concluded.

Fast forward five months to July 30, after much anticipation and the creation of The Bubble, the season resumed with two exciting matchups – that packed the right amount excitement and were very tightly contested.

The Los Angeles Lakers evened their regular season series against their LA rivals the Clippers after beating them 103 – 101 in the first game in the bubble.

Both teams featured two top 10 NBA players each in LeBron James and Anthony Davis at the Lakers, and Kawhi Leonard and Paul George at the clippers. The Lakers had great performances from Davis who led the game in scoring, finishing with 34, while James and Kyle Kuzma had 16 apiece. George put up an impressive 30 for the clippers and Leonard added 28.

James, who led the game in rebounds and assists (11 and seven), had pretty lukewarm game by hi standards, but came to life in the fourth, pulling off the Lakers’ last two critical plays including the game-winning layup off his own rebound.

In the second game on resumption night, an outstanding performance by Brandon Ingram, who put up a game-leading 23 points and eight rebounds, could not stop a determined Utah Jazz from beating his New Orleans Pelicans 106-104.

Donovan Michell and Mike Conley each scored 20 points for Utah, but the younger Mitchell had a better overall performance with five rebounds and five assists. Rudy Gobert put up a double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds, and in the process pulled off three blocks.

The Jazz’s leading scorer actually came off the bench – Jordan Clarkson scored 23 points in his 33 minutes on the hardwood.

Jrue Holiday had 20 points and five rebounds for the pelicans, while rookie phenom Zion Williamson put up 16 points from shooting 6-8 from the field.

The second day also saw some thrilling action on the court as 12 teams matched up in six exciting games that reminded fans that they are indeed in for a breathtaking rest of the season.

The Orlando Magic beat the Brooklyn Nets 128 – 118 on Cameroonian-French guard Evan Fournier’s 24 points and five assists; The Portland Trail Blazers defeated the Memphis Grizzlies 140 – 135 led by CJ McCullum’s 33 points and six assists; Devin Booker helped the Phoenix Suns hand the Washington Wizards a 125 – 112 thumping with 27 points, five rebounds and four assists; the Milwaukee Bucks beat the Boston Celtics 119 – 112on the back of Nigerian-Greek forward Giannis Antetokounmpo’s 36-point, 15-rebound double-double; Derrick White’s 26 points, eight rebounds and five assists game the San Antonio Spurs a 129 – 120 victory over the Sacramento Kings, and Texan battle saw the Houston Rockets beat the Dallas Mavericks 153 – 149.

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