Houston (USA), Aug 1 (EFE) .- Greek power forward Giannis Antetokounmpo and shooting guard James Harden returned to the competition to demonstrate their status as Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the league, being the leaders They guided their respective teams from the Milwaukee Bucks and Houston Rockets to victory in what was their NBA restart debut after the COVID-19 hiatus.
While veteran San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich decided not to kneel, along with assistant coach Becky Hammon, while performing the national anthem during the game his team played against the Sacramento Kings.
The stoppage due to the coronavirus pandemic has not changed the supremacy of the Bucks in the Eastern Conference after with Antetokounmpo, of great leader, they beat the Boston Celtics 119-112.
Although he had problems with the personals, Antetokounmpo emerged as the star of the game by contributing a double-double of 36 points, 15 rebounds and seven assists.
The victory left the Bucks 54-12, the best in the Eastern Conference, they are one more to secure it for the second consecutive season, and the league.
With the score 108-107 in favor of the Bucks, Antetokounmpo made a penetration to the basket, which was initially indicated as an offensive foul, but the referees reviewed the play and gave it to the Celtics base, Marcus Smart. which has already generated the first controversy in the Orlando bubble.
There was none in the game that the Rockets came from behind and won, in overtime (153-149), the Mavericks because Harden struck again with his scoring inspiration to reach 49 points.
The Texan duel had as its main protagonist Harden and the base Russell Westbrook, who did not show any kind of aftermath of having tested positive for COVID-19, staying at the gates of a triple-double, and they were the executioners for the Mavericks, that this time the contributions of the Latvian center Kristaps Porzingis and the Slovenian guard Luka Doncic were not enough.
Harden, who finished with 14 baskets from 20 field goals and scored 23 points in the first quarter, captured nine rebounds and dished out eight assists, outscored legendary ex-base Calvin Murphy as the second-highest scorer in the team’s history, and now he is only behind the expivot Hakeem Olajuwon.
While Westbrook supported him by getting a double-double of 31 points, 11 rebounds, eight assists, he recovered two balls, and lost another six.
Porzingis with a double-double of 39 points and 16 rebounds was the leader of the Mavericks, while Doncic finished with a triple-double of 28 points, captured 13 balls under the rings and distributed 10 assists.
However, Doncic missed the decisive shots and did not have his best control of the ball by losing it eight times.
Both teams combined for the highest score (85-75, Mavericks, leaders) at the end of a first half so far in the NBA season.
While the Mavericks tied the best mark for a first part in the history of the team.
Guard DeMar DeRozan asserted his status as a Spurs franchise player and with 27 points guided them to the 129-120 win over the Kings.
DeRozan, who had not had his best season until the coronavirus break came, regained the scoring inspiration in the fourth period when he scored 17 points that broke the score in favor of the Spurs.
Before the match, Popovich and Hammon stood as the national anthem was sung and the rest of the players and coaches from both teams knelt.
“I prefer to keep that to myself,” Popovich stated when asked about his stance. “Everyone has a personal decision to make. The league has been great about it. Everyone has the freedom to react the way they want. For whatever reason I have, I reacted the way I wanted.”
Once again, shooting guard CJ McCollum’s offensive contribution, who scored 33 points, and point guard Damian Lillard, who reached 29, were the key that allowed the Portland Trail Blazers to beat the Memphis Grizzlies 140-135, in overtime, and get an important victory in the fight for eighth place in the Western Conference that allows them to play the playoffs for the seventh season in a row.
Anthony, who had his 768th game with at least 20 points, needs three more to join the legendary Wilt Chamberlain for eighth place on the all-time list.
Hispanic guard Devin Booker, with 27 points, and Spanish point guard Ricky Rubio, who was on the verge of a double-double (15 goals and nine assists), led the Phoenix Suns to an easy victory by 125-112. against the Washington Wizards
Power forward Jaren Jackson Jr. with 33 points and rookie point guard Ja Morant, who contributed a double-double of 22 points, 11 assists and five rebounds led the Grizzlies, who remain eighth in the standings with two and a half games of advantage over Portland.
French forward guard Evan Fournier, with 24 points, led the attack by the Orlando Magic in the comfortable victory they achieved 128-118 against the decimated Brooklyn Nets, in the fight for seventh place in the Eastern Conference, which now Belongs to them.
(c) EFE Agency