John Wall returned to Earth for the first time in nearly two years. DeMarcus Cousins played for the first time since the 2019 NBA Finals.
The Los Angeles Lakers of the NBA champions were at home, and no one was watching.
Friday opened the pre-season for the NBA season – a 49-game cut for nine days – with a five-game roster, and the action returning to the NBA arenas for the first time in exactly nine months. The coaches made their debut with their new teams: Steven Silas with Houston, Tom Thibudo with New York, Billy Donovan with Chicago and Teron Low with the Los Angeles Clippers. Rookies, such as Patrick Williams of fourth-placed Bulls and Picker No.8 Obi Tobin of the Knicks, got their first NBA minutes.
As in most buildings, at least to start the season, almost no one has participated in any of these games. As the coronavirus pandemic continues and case numbers continue to rise, the era that began in the NBA with last season’s suspension on March 11 – the night Utah’s Rudi Joubert tested positive – has resumed with the league and its teams on the cautious side. And safety.
Lakers coach Frank Vogel said “It’s definitely different” before his team faced the Clippers inside a very empty Staples Center.
Well, some things were different.
Coaches wore masks. Detroit showed old videos of actual fan interactions – with a disclaimer that they were pre-recorded – during some timeouts. The seating areas on the bench were spaced out, with no one next to each other.
Orlando coach Steve Clifford said, “Obviously, the atmosphere will be vastly different from what men in the ring are used to. And I think that will be one of the valuable aspects of playing these four showroom games. Just like in the bubble, we had to get used to an environment of sorts.” I think these four matches will allow us to see what the regular season looks like in these big arenas as well. “
So yeah, it was a lot different.
Other things – like Wall’s blast in the basket – were totally normal.
Wall’s first basket since December 2018 came in Houston’s first pre-season possession, when he reached the edge to score an easy goal on his debut at the Rockets, which came after recovering from heel and Achilles tendon injuries.
Next rocket basket? Wall set up Cousins for a Index 3, the first basket for the center since Match 6 of the 2019 Finals with the Warriors, two months before he was torn up in the ACL and missed him last season.
James Harden, the NBA reigning champion, has not been playing for the Rockets, and he is still not allowed to return to Earth with the team he has yet to train with and it seems he no longer wants to be with him. LeBron James and Anthony Davis, who were last seen on Earth together when the Lakers topped the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals at Walt Disney World Bubble – less than two months ago – were among the regulars to get a pre-season start. .
There are seven more games on Saturday.
KNICKS 90, PISTONS 84
In Detroit, RJ Barrett scored 15 points and Toppin finished with 11 points and seven rebounds on his debut as the Knicks won the opening game before the start of the season.
Julius Randall scored 11, while Elfred Payton and Nirlins Noel each scored 10 goals for New York.
Svi Mikeliuk and a friend led the Bay Pistons, with 14 points each. None of the five Detroit junior players – all of whom played between 15 and 22 minutes – reached double digits, and shot 8 complexes for 34.
Abdul-Hadd Servant of the Most Compassionate 112
In Atlanta, Nikola Vucevic scored 18 points and 11 rebounds and all of Orlando’s five junior players reached two numbers.
Dwayne Bacon scored 14 points, Evan Fournier 13, Aaron Gordon 12, and Markel Fultz added 10 points for Magic, who also got 10 from Michael Carter Williams.
Deandre Hunter scored 18 points for Hawks, who each received 14 points from John Collins and Danilo Galinari, 14 rebounds from Clint Capella and 13 points from Cam Redish. Trae Young paid 2 for only 9 for Atlanta.
125- Noura Muhammad
In Chicago, Wall had 13 points and nine assists in 19 minutes and led the Rockets from wire to wire.
Bruno Capuclio scored 17 points for Houston, who was up 32 points. Gerald Green and Eric Gordon scored 16 points each, the Cousins scored 14 points in 15 minutes and Ben McLemore added 10 points for the Rockets – who had a 35-0 point. Turn off rotation until the last moments.
Kobe White scored 15 for the Bulls. Lori Markanin added 13 for Chicago, Williams scored 12 in his NBA debut, Noah Funley and Zach Lavigne added 12, and Thomas Saturnsky finished with 11.
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