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Home / Sport / The intensity of LeBron James, the return of Zion Williamson, the Lakers-Clippers in the main episodes of the season as the NBA starts the season

The intensity of LeBron James, the return of Zion Williamson, the Lakers-Clippers in the main episodes of the season as the NBA starts the season



The first match of the 2019-20 season was played 282 days ago. On Thursday, we have a second season opener of sorts that none of us could have possibly seen coming. After a 20-week shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the season will continue in the Disney bubble with two games on Thursday. The NBA recently reported a second straight week with zero positive coronavirus tests from players inside the bubble – a promising sign like NFL and MLB battle infections. Things can go south quickly, but for now at least, the NBA bubble experiment is working.

Since you may have forgotten since the last time you saw the NBA action, here are some key scenarios to watch as the league resumption begins Thursday night with the Utah Jazz vs New Orleans Pelicans, followed by the Los Angeles Clippers against the Los Angeles Lakers .

Embrace the difficulty

For those of you who haven’t gotten into the latest scripts (and who can blame you?), NBA Basketball looks a little different in the bubble. The placement is probably the best you can expect from this type of environment, as they have eliminated gaps (and cardboard cuts) by surrounding the courtroom with monitors displaying fans, dancers, and home team logos. Some of the scrimmages had fake crowd noise while others did not, so it will be interesting to see how they handle things for the night opening. Players are placed on the tables. Some are wearing masks. There is nothing about it ̵

1; it’s weird.

That said, you should probably prepare yourself for a little trouble. You will hear players cheering (or obviously not cheering) for teammates. There will be some inevitable screws with remote transmission. But hey, it’s NBA basketball and it will improve as things get understood.

Reductions Lakers-Clippers with stars

The two best Western Conference teams, which both happen to be from Los Angeles, will meet for the fourth time this season on Thursday, though the circumstances will obviously be different. In the NBA you often hear about “schedule wastage”, which means that due to travel circumstances, game frequency or quality of recent opponents, teams are unable to make the maximum effort in certain games. It will not happen on Thursday, which is an extremely exciting prospect for NBA fans.

LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George are all healthy and ready to go (Davis said he expects to play after being spotted during a Lakers scrimmage game), and they all have the added benefit of four months plus a break from competitive basketball. Both teams have lost key players (i.e. Montrezl Harrell and Lou Williams for the Clippers, Avery Bradley and Rajon Rondo for the Lakers), but the stars should shine brilliantly on opening night – something we’ve been waiting to see since the start of the break in March.

Zion ‘short bursts’

NBA fans have been waiting for more than four months to get another look at Zion Williamson’s unique effective maneuvering style of play – photograph a winged bowling ball – and we’ll officially see him in action after the Pelicans announced he will play in the bubble opener Thursday. Williamson reportedly will not have a minute limit alone, but he will play with short bursts when he gets his conditioning after a departure from the Disney campus for a family emergency.

This is great news for the Pelicans, who are struggling for a play-off bed and need every winning game they can get. They had an absurd net rating of plus-13.9 points per 100 possessions with Zion on trial in 19 games this season, and have a chance to take advantage of a Jazz team in just their second real game of the entire season without a 20- point-for-goal scorer Bojan Bogdanovic, who is out to resume after wing surgery. The NBA is a more fun place when Zion plays, and it makes our reopening night a lot more appealing.

LeBron on a mission

LeBron reportedly was one of the most vocal supporters of the NBA season resumption, which makes sense as the Lakers are the best chance to take home the title and we’re not sure how many more seasons the 35-year-old superstar could have keep performing at an elite level. He may have a little more gray on his beard, but James is still arguably the best player in the league, especially when it comes to the play-offs. Expect him to come out energetically to try to set the tone for his teammates in his first real NBA game since March.

AD against PG

The LeBron-Kawhi match will take the titles, but success for the Lakers and Clippers – on Thursday and beyond – could come down to disqualified midfield stars Anthony Davis and Paul George. Both players struggled with annoying injuries throughout the season before closing, and now appear to be healthy and in good shape. Assuming LeBron and Kawhi are both their normal, brilliant selves, the difference between the teams can come down to how dominant Davis and George can be when other stars are resting or slowing down from overloaded defenses.

This season the Lakers have a net rating minus-3.2 when Davis was on trial without LeBron, with the offense essentially falling off a cliff. The Clippers fall from plus-11.6 with both Leonard and George on trial at plus-2.2 when George plays without Kawhi. There are many other factors that contribute to the performance of teams without their best players, but it will be interesting to see how Davis and George play on the night of the reopening and later in a possible play-off match.

Zo Show

Those who wrote Lonzo Balli as a bust after his first two seasons injured by the Lakers may want to reconsider their position. Our Brad Botkin himself detailed Lonzo’s significant improvement this season, averaging 13.8 points, 8.1 assists and 7.2 rebounds in 41 points 3 percent (nearly seven attempts per game) since joining the Pelicans’ starting lineup for good in Dec. 23 Across that stretch, New Orleans has a net plus-7.8 rating with Ball on the court, adding confidence to the idea that he also does the little things on both ends of the court to help his team win. Balli’s improved form of shooting gets the most attention, but his overall game is one of the most fun in the league – now is the right time to start paying attention to him.

Jazz needs great tuning

As mentioned earlier, Bojan Bogdanovic lost just one game this season before undergoing hand surgery ending the post-Closing season in the NBA, so the Jazz have only eight games before the play-off to figure out their way. good to play without. Bogdanovic is the team’s leading scorer with 20.2 points per game, and their only credible shooter with 3 points with high volume, hitting 42 percent in over seven attempts per game. This season Utah succumbed to a smaller, more widespread offense, which worked (from 14th in the NBA last season to eight this season), but Bogdanovic was a big part of that. Utah’s offensive rating dropped from 113.5 with Bogdanovic in court to 105 with him out. Now even more responsibility will fall on Donovan Mitchell, while Mike Conley and Jordan Clarkson will have to increase their perimeter score.




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