Rudy Gobert knocked down two free throws with 6.9 seconds remaining as the Utah Jazz defeated the New Orleans Pelicans 106-104 in the first regular-season game of the NBA’s 2019-20 restart at Walt Disney World near Orlando, Florida.

Pels forward Brandon Ingram had a good look from three-point range as time wound down, but the ball rattled in and out.

Jordan Clarkson led the Jazz with 23 points off the bench, and Mike Conley and Donovan Mitchell each had 20. Ingram guided the Pels with 23 points.

Pels superstar rookie Zion Williamson scored 13 points on 6-of-8 shooting in just 15 minutes as he works his way back into game shape.

Williamson left the NBA’s campus July 16 for what the team termed an “urgent family medical matter.” He returned last Friday but had to go into a four-day quarantine amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Williamson was free to leave quarantine before Thursday’s game, although Pels head coach Alvin Gentry said pregame that he planned to play the star in “short bursts” as he and the rest of the league come back following four-and-a-half months off the court.

Prior to the game, all players, coaches and referees knelt during the national anthem, and players wore Black Lives Matter shirts.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said, “I respect our teams’ unified act of peaceful protest for social justice and under these unique circumstances will not enforce our long-standing rule requiring standing during the playing of our national anthem,” per Leah Asmelash and Jill Martin of CNN.com.

The 42-23 Jazz are fourth in the Western Conference. The 28-37 Pels fell to 11th, four games behind the eighth-place Memphis Grizzlies for the final Western Conference playoff spot.

Notable Performances

Jazz SG Donovan Mitchell: 20 PTS, 5 REB, 5 AST, 3 STL

Jazz C Rudy Gobert: 14 PTS, 12 REB, 3 BLK

Jazz SG Jordan Clarkson: 23 PTS, 5 REB, 3 AST, 2 STL

Jazz PG Mike Conley: 20 PTS, 4 AST

Pelicans PF Zion Williamson: 13 PTS, 1 AST

Pelicans SG JJ Redick: 21 PTS, 4 REB, 3 AST

Pelicans SF Brandon Ingram: 23 PTS, 8 REB   

Pelicans SG Jrue Holiday: 20 PTS, 5 REB, 4 AST, 3 STL

Courtesy: Bleacher Report


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