THE NBA IS BACK!
The first day of scrimmages is in the books as teams hit the court against NBA competition for the first time since the season was suspended in March.
Each of the 22 teams in the Orlando bubble will play three scrimmage games prior to the season restart on July 31 and Day 1 gave us plenty to talk about, from Bol Bol's impressive debut to a healthy Paul George shining for the LA Clippers.
Here are a few key observations from the first day of NBA action...
1. Is Bol Bol the Nuggets' secret weapon?
In their first scrimmage, the Denver Nuggets secured an 89-82 win over the Washington Wizards, but it was rookie Bol Bol who stole the show.
After being drafted with the 44th pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, Bol had yet to play a regular-season game for the Nuggets, instead getting minutes in the G League with the Windy City Bulls.
In 32 minutes on court, he showed why he had everyone hyped ahead of the draft, pouring in 16 points, 10 rebounds and six blocks, impressively displaying his ability on both sides of the floor.
What a start for Bol Bol ‼️- NBA (@NBA) July 22, 2020
In his first action for the @nuggets, @BolBol puts up 16 PTS, 10 REB, 6 BLK to guide Denver past Washington in their NBA Restart Scrimmage opener! #WholeNewGame pic.twitter.com/lQBeS7wOef
2. The Nuggets' jumbo starting lineup
When your best playmaker is your 7-foot center, why not start him at point guard?
While the league trends small, Nuggets coach Mike Malone ran out a humongous starting lineup in their opening scrimmage, with All-NBA center Nikola Jokic (7'0") running point, flanked by Jerami Grant (6'8"), Paul Millsap (6'8") and Bol Bol (7'2") at forward, and Mason Plumlee (6'11") at centre.
starting at point guard for your Denver Nuggets pic.twitter.com/uqL5BWqjrX- Wobol Wobol (@WorldWideWob) July 22, 2020
With teams like the Houston Rockets going small, could we see the Nuggets zig while the rest of the league zags?
3. A healthy Paul George can put the Clippers over the top
After a blockbuster offseason trade to the Clippers, Paul George struggled to find his groove, appearing in just 42 regular-season games after being hampered with injuries.
Following a long layoff, the Clippers' star looks back to full health. He finished with 18 points, five rebounds and three assists on 6-of-13 shooting from the field and 4-of-8 from 3-point range in just 19 minutes on the court.
Pulling up from 3 off the dribble, getting to the rim with ease and scoring at will, PG13 at full flight makes the Clippers an even more imposing threat in the Western Conference.
👀 @Yg_Trece (18 PTS, 4 3PM) & @TeamLou23 (22 PTS) pace the @LAClippers' victory in their Scrimmage against Orlando! #WholeNewGame pic.twitter.com/MCYEue3bQJ- NBA (@NBA) July 22, 2020
4. Pelicans do it by committee
The New Orleans Pelicans opened their scrimmage with an impressive 99-68 rout over the short-handed Brooklyn Nets.
Despite the shortened 40-minute game, the Pelicans had five players score in double figures, led by 14 points apiece from E'Twaun Moore and Nickeil Alexander-Walker. Brandon Ingram added 12 points, while Jrue Holiday and Jahlil Okafor added 10 each.
Nine different players knocked down a 3-pointer as the team went 13-of-32 from deep.
With Zion Williamson and Derrick Favors out, Okafor made the most of his opportunity in the middle, with a string of slick moves.
Jah has been working in the second half, following up the nasty spin move with a right-handed slam 💪 pic.twitter.com/eNHBRGDLRP- New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) July 23, 2020
5. Duncan Robinson is already dialed in
The Miami Heat returned to the court with a 104-98 win over the Sacramento Kings, and one thing's for sure - Duncan Robinson's shot is automatic.
Robinson led the Heat with 18 points, all coming from beyond the arc as he knocked down 5-of-8 from distance, leading to Goran Dragic declaring post-game that Robinson is the "best shooter in the league."
18 PTS (5 3PM) from @D_Bo20 and 15 PTS from @raf_tyler helps the @MiamiHEAT come away victorious in their first Scrimmage! #WholeNewGame pic.twitter.com/YcXmy7jaXZ- NBA (@NBA) July 23, 2020
Robinson shot 44.8 percent from the perimeter this season, which ranks fourth in the NBA. The league hiatus seems to have had no effect on the sharp-shooter.
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