After a long 5 month wait for the NBA to restart, the time has finally come. On July 30th, 2020 the NBA scheduled the first two post-hiatus regular season games. The New Orleans Pelicans took on the Utah Jazz in a nail biting NBA bubble opening game. The game was close through all 4 quarters with the Pelicans taking the lead through the first two quarters and the Jazz making a comeback in the final two quarters. The final score saw the Utah Jazz prevail over the New Orleans Pelicans with a score of 106-104.
Donovan Mitchell, Mike Conley, Jordan Clarkson and Rudy Gobert all proved crucial in the Jazz win. Mitchell and Conley had 20 points each, Clarkson had 23 points and Gobert posted a double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds. The Pelicans’ very own Brandon Ingram was the stand out player of the night along with Rudy Gobert despite the loss. Ingram posted 23 points and 8 rebounds in the loss against the Jazz. He had a few highlight plays against Gobert, the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, but unfortunately his last shot to win the game fell short. Jrue Holiday also posted an impressive stat line with 20 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists.
The Pelicans’ Rookie star Zion Williamson was on track to having a great game, but only ended up playing 15 minutes of the game and posting 13 points. Williamson, despite looking healthy, only played 13 minutes because of a minute restriction placed on him by the New Orleans medical staff. Pelicans coach, Alvin Gentry, does not seem to regret the decision to sit Zion on the bench at the end of the game. He has stuck to the medical staff’s decision and committed to the minutes restriction despite the fact that Zion has proved crucial to closing out games for the Pelicans.
The Pelicans’ next game is against the Clippers and they are desperate for a win to secure a spot in the playoffs.