The NBA restarted its 2019-20 season last night after being forced, like all sports leagues, to take an extended break due to the coronavirus pandemic. Sports fans everywhere were glued to their TVs, tablets, computers or whatever device they needed to use to catch the games, and they weren’t disappointed. With the LA Lakers taking on the LA Clippers and the Utah Jazz going up against the New Orleans Pelicans, there was a lot to look forward to, and all players brought their best to give fans a show.
As expected, all players, coaches and referees took a knee as the National Anthem was being played, with virtually everyone sporting a “Black Lives Matter” t-shirt until after the music stopped. Removing the garments and revealing their usual jerseys, as well as footwear, players had added messages, with the NBA’s approval, to continue driving home the importance of social and racial equity. Among the messages were “Equality;” and “Say her name,” the latter being a reference to Breonna Taylor, a Black emergency medical technician who was fatally shot by police in Kentucky in one of many cases that have caused substantial claims of abuse of force across the country.
With the statement having been delivered loud and clear, it was time to get the action started. The Lakers-Clippers showdown was always going to be one of the hottest games of the reboot in the NBA Bubble in Orlando, and proved to be everything expected. While both sides were a little rusty at first, they quickly developed a solid rhythm that would force the game to go down to the wire to find a winner. In spectacular fashion, it would come down to an attempt just ahead of the final buzzer.
The lead in the game went back and forth until the very end. The Lakers were up with just under two minutes left when Clippers forward Paul George threatened the lead and narrowed the gap to 99-98. LeBron James responded with a layup, only to have George come back with a three-point shot to tie the game – 29 seconds now remained on the clock.