Well, it’s been a long time between drinks but the NBA is back. Rudy Gobert got things started for the Jazz while Kyle Lowry and the Raptors got straight into their work.
It Begins & Ends With Rudy
It’s fitting, really.
After being unfairly slammed as the first NBA player to test positive for coronavirus, and in turn, causing the season suspension, Rudy Gobert scored the first points in the bubble.
The Utah Jazz and New Orleans Pelicans tipped things off. It appeared as though the Jazz would cruise to victory before a Pelicans fightback brought the scores to 104-104 heading into the final 30 seconds. But this game, and the NBA season, went full-circle once again as Gobert knocked down two free throws with 6.9 seconds remaining to secure the 106-104 Jazz win.
Frustratingly, Zion Williamson was kept to just 15 minutes in which he scored 13 points on 6-8 shooting.
You take your time working into this new-look NBA season, Victor.
T.J. has got this.
Shooting 20-29 in the Indiana Pacers 127-121 win over the Philadelphia 76ers, T.J. Warren finished with a career-high 53 points. He’s always been a scorer. Yet, Warren had never scored more than 40 points in a game before this one.
The performance of the Pacers forward saw Joel Embiid’s 41 points and 21 rebounds fly under the radar. It also caused a few eye-brow raises as a team that thrives on their defence struggled couldn’t stop the ball enough to win despite Tobias Harris also scoring 30 points and Ben Simmons adding 19 points and 13 rebounds.
Nobody is going to panic too much during these seeding games. The 76ers are still on the fourth line of betting to win the Eastern Conference at $8.
— Palmerbet (@PalmerbetAU) July 30, 2020
Way Too Early Overreaction #1
The Toronto Raptors can cause problems.
It’s only one win over a fairly lacklustre Los Angeles Lakers team, but the Raptors looked the goods in their 107-92 win.
Kyle Lowry is a bulldog who appears to have been working himself up in a cage for the last four months. OG Anunoby needs to be respected as a shooter after hitting eight of his nine shots including two big-time three’s in the third quarter. Meanwhile, Pascal Siakam chipped away with 15 points, nine rebounds and three assists. They’re worth a look to win the East at $6.
Way Too Early Overreaction #2
LeBron James looks…slow?
King James hasn’t been his best to restart the NBA season. With 16 points on 6-19 shooting against the Clippers and 20 points on 7-15 shooting against the Raptors, he’s hardly blown the roof off the bubble. James is 35-years-old so it may take him a few more games to get his legs under him. However, it’s something to keep an eye on as the Lakers eye-up a Western Conference ($2.60) and NBA Championship ($3.60).
Life Outside The Bubble
While not every team is inside the NBA bubble, life still goes on for those on the outside.
The New York Knicks have just secured Tom Thibodeau as their next head coach.
The New York Knicks and Tom Thibodeau are finalizing a five-year deal to make him the franchise’s next coach, sources tell ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 25, 2020
Thibs has his detractors. He’s famous for running young players into the ground and having little thought for anything beyond the single game he’s currently coaching. However, that might be what the Knicks need right now. Somebody that creates a winning culture which relies on digging deep and working hard. They have a long way to go before being relevant, but Thibodeau will inch them closer over the next few years.