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Los Angeles Lakers, Utah Jazz make winning returns in Orlando

Los Angeles Lakers, Utah Jazz make winning returns in Orlando
© Reuters
The league has restarted in Orlando after a Covid-19 suspension of more than four months.

The NBA resumed from its coronavirus suspension with two games on Thursday, with the Los Angeles Lakers and the Utah Jazz scoring two-point wins.

With both games featuring Western Conference teams, the first-placed Lakers beat their second-placed local rivals the LA Clippers by 103-101, while the fourth-placed Jazz beat the 11th-placed New Orleans Pelicans 106-104.

The season has had to be drastically reshaped after a hiatus of more than four months.

Twenty-two of the NBA's 30 teams have gone into a bio-secure bubble at Walt Disney World, Orlando, to play out the season, with teams most likely in contention for the play-offs being invited.

The teams will play eight regular-season seeding games before the standard 16-team play-offs will get under way.

The Lakers bounced out to a strong start against the Clippers, taking a 12-point lead at quarter time, before the Clippers bit back to lead by one point heading into the last quarter.

The Lakers kept cooler heads in the dying moments, a 27-24 last quarter lifting them to the victory, with Anthony Davis showing the way with 34 points and eight rebounds. LeBron James had 16 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists, and played a crucial role defensively at the death.

Paul George took 30 points for the Clippers while Kawhi Leonard had 28.

New Orleans led 87-78 at three-quarter time but were blown away in a 27-17 last quarter.

Utah had many contributors, with Jordan Clarkson taking 23 points, and Mike Conley and Donovan Mitchell scoring 20 points each.

Brandon Ingram scored 23 for the Pelicans, while Jrue Holiday had 20.

Players wore Black Lives Matter shirts before the game started and all took a knee during the anthem, linking arms as they did so.

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Team LeBron forward LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers celebrates in the fourth quarter of the 2020 NBA All Star Game at United Center on February 17, 2020
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