LAKE BUENA VISTA, Florida – Virtual fans and crowd noise. Right between the two former MVPs that took place before the real faces played. Battle of Los Angeles about 3,000 km from downtown Staples.
Lakers 103, Clippers 101.
The NBA is back.
The opening of the night in the renewed NBA season was finally upon us on Thursday and it’s a weird experience. Late Lakers-Clippers would be an almost impossible ticket in Los Angeles. Fans wrapped up LA Live hours before betting. Skalici would have a day in the field. In the bubble, the awning was witnessed by about a dozen members of the media, several other NBA employees and a handful of players who came to watch from socially remote places.
Lawrence Tanter, Lakers̵7; legendary whistleblower, provided introductions, pre-recorded.
During the time limit, Lakers’ usual fun game is played on the court screen.
for WHO, exactly, is a little unclear.
The social justice movement sweeping America was highlighted during the NBA restart and continued on Thursday. Players stepped to the floor in black T-shirts with the BLACK LIVES MATTER print on the front. News of social justice have replaced the names on the backs of jerseys. A two-minute video highlighting the movement that played after warming up. A few hours earlier in the gym, on the football field, the Pelicans and Jazz knelt behind the national anthem. The Lakers and Clippers did the same, switching weapons, while pre-recording at Compton Kid’s Club spread through speakers hanging on the rafters.
As he knelt, his 58-year-old knee pain, Clippers coach Doc Rivers drifted toward George Floyd, whose death on the knees of a Minnesota police officer caused movement.
“The hardest thing that happened to me during the game today was kneeling for two minutes,” Rivers said. “My knee would hurt. In the middle, I think my knee hurts in two minutes, but there was a guy who had a knee around someone’s neck for eight minutes. There were boys who needed towels and things to get on their knees. “And someone knelt on the neck of another human being for eight minutes. That’s nuts when you think about it.”
The game, predictably, was not pretty. No one expected the three-week training camp and the three varieties to disappear from the corrosive effects of the four-month break. And it didn’t happen. The first quarter was abysmal. The two teams joined in for 21 fouls. The Lakers made two of the eight three-point attempts. This is a sharp shot compared to Clippers, who missed all seven. Anthony Davis scored 14 points in the first quarter. The Lakers finished with a 12-point lead.
The cutters could have folded. It was a difficult month for another LA team. The list was ravaged by disease and external problems. Two of the top six men in the NBA – Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell – did not play. Marcus Morris was late arriving. Ivica Zubac, who was diagnosed with COVID-19 at the end of June, returned to practice this week. Patrick Beverley is still working on his way back into the game.
The Clippers didn’t stop. In the second quarter, they cut ten points from Lakers’ lead. In the third quarter, they built an 11-point lead. They held the lead on entering fourth place. Paul George (30 points) and Kawhi Leonard (28) took over, raining threes, nine of them over Lakers’ defenders.
George triple equalized the game with 28 seconds left, and then you felt the bizarreness of the moment again. Those game, the two elites of the Western Conference, and under normal circumstances would hum a crowd of 20,000 plus. Instead, the raspy voice of the Rivers came through the music. Beverley set off defensive instructions. When James tilted his own girl with 13 seconds left, the only sound came from the Lakers bench.
James wasn’t done either. In the final possession of the Clippers, James clung to Leonard. When Leonard equalized for the ball, he turned the ball to George. James started at him. With James on his side, George tried to balance the three-point pointer, which tore.
One defensive property, two elite defensive games.
Not bad for a 35-year-old in his 17th season.
“Rhythmically, when it comes to offensive shooting, it will take a little longer for us to return,” James said. “The only thing you can do is defend yourself. You can always communicate … you can have teammates to support you when you make a mistake. Communication on the defensive side is something that should always be in place. “
One game down, seven go before the playoffs and both teams know there is still a lot of work to be done. “I think we have a long way to go to achieve the habits and discipline we played with when we entered the hiatus,” said Frank Vogel. Conditioning remains a factor. The percentage of three points will increase. The in-game experience will continue to be an adjustment – about 300 Lakers video call fans joined the video call and watched the game – as well as playing without crowd energy.
“When we’re out there, we really don’t notice that there are no fans in the game,” Davis said. “We just went there and competed and we just tried to win.” They keep the noise out of the crowd … but when we competed there, it’s only five of us … the more we use this arena, the easier it will be. ‘ “
Games will not be nice. The environment will be special. But four or more months after the global pandemic stopped the season, the NBA is back. For players, for the league, it’s all important.