One hundred and forty-one nights after a positive coronavirus test triggered an interruption in the NBA season, Utah Jazz Center Rudy Gobert scored the league’s first points and changed a step over former teammate Derrick Favors in the opening Thursday night against the New Orleans Pelicans in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.
More importantly, Gobert also scored the final points of the game and hit a pair of free throws with the remaining 6.9 seconds.
“I’m just grateful,” Gobert told ESPN in a telephone interview after Jazz’s 106 to 104 winners at Walt Disney’s HP Field House. “She is just grateful to be able to do what I love. After everything I personally and everything the world is going through, being able to keep inspiring millions of children around the world and spreading positivity is just a blessing.
“Of course it̵7;s great to start with a victory.”
It was also a convenient way to end the victory when shooter Donovan Mitchell broke through the defense with a counterattack and fed Gobert to lead to free throws. Favors from Favors prevented Gobert from ending a great dunk, but the game still stood as proof that jazz stars, whose market had dominated the franchise news for several months, could continue to have a productive working partnership.
“Donovan was trying to make the right game and he did it,” said Gobert, who had 14 points, 12 rebounds and 3 blocks to win when the Pelicans ahead of Brandon Ingram missed a 3-way indicator in the buzzer. “A lot of people probably won’t be able to say the things they want to say to try to break our team. As I said, life works mysteriously. “
The Jazz duo All-Stars did not speak the first month of the hiatus because Mitchell, who was positive for COVID-19 hours after Gobert, was upset by the attitude of a 7-footer cavalry about the coronavirus pandemic before Gobert realized he was infected.
However, they both acknowledged that there were differences between them before the pandemic, especially as to how often Mitchell had switched to Gobert, and the man’s tendency to complain.
“We moved further and talked about using all this experience to improve. I think these two boys did it, “said jazz coach Quin Snyder.
After several productive private conversations, each of which was responsible, Gobert and Mitchell have publicly expressed confidence in recent weeks that they could continue to win together and have a desire to shift the focus back to the team as a whole. They reiterated this position following the cooperation in the critical game on Thursday of the victory.
“It will also stop me from talking about it, to be honest with you,” said Mitchell, who had two of his five assistants at Gobert’s loci in the third quarter when jazz amassed a 16-point deficit. “In the end, we are basketball players. We go there and make the right game. He did a hell of a job. I’m trying to find a way and find the boys who will open up. For me, at the end of the game, it’s about proper reading. I’ve told you a thousand times that I’m trying to be a better passerby, a better player than the whole. To be able to do this in these situations, it only shows the steps I did.
“I just trusted him and he trusted me. That’s really what it is. … He had the first two points, and for that [play] to end it, it should all be sealed in terms of all those extra things. “
Mitchell scored eight of his 20 points in the last five minutes, as the Pelicans easily overcame the Pelicans in times of crisis, while their jazz completed the touch. According to the ESPN Stats & Information survey, according to the ESPN Stats & Information survey, the biggest return of this season in Utah also coincided.
Mitchell had had Jazz’s previous eight points when the scores tied when he beat New Orleans guard Jrue Holiday from behind, forcing the Favors to stand up for help and make it nice. handed over to Gobert.
“To play, he made it late and threw the ball at Rudy and let Rudy take two free throws, which shows great confidence in your teammate,” Snyder said. “Maybe I’ll change my mind and say it’s poetic, but I don’t want to exaggerate too much. These two guys have done it hundreds and a hundred times in the last [three] years, the time they played together. It’s great to see them joining the court. ‘ “
Gobert still had to sink a pressure-thrown feast, which was a problem for him. According to a survey by ESPN Stats & Info, the worst clip (12.5%) of any player with at least five attempts, he entered the 1-of-8 game for free throwing in the last 10 seconds of the fourth quarter or overtime this season. such situations.
However, Gobert threw free throws during a quarrel on the court, simply concentrating on how he held the ball and its subsequent observation, not on the size of the moment.
At the end of the game, the last interaction between the players on the floor was Mitchell walking to exchange high-five with Gobert before talking to TNT with the side lines.
“Every team has a rise and fall,” Gobert said. “The most important thing is the way you react. It requires a bigger man to take a high path in life. We’re both doing it right now. We will both try to improve each other. team needs and the needs of our community. ‘ “