Rudy Gobert and Zion Williamson got the scoring started in the NBA restart.
NBA basketball is officially back, and the two most fitting culprits to get the scoring started down in Orlando did exactly that on Thursday.
In the first seeding game of the NBA’s restart between the New Orleans Pelicans and Utah Jazz, it was Rudy Gobert — the very man whose positive coronavirus test suspended league play back on March 11 — who kicked things off with an and-one.
On the very next possession, Zion Williamson — easily the headliner of this first game — returned the favor with a 3-point play of his own.
Gobert missed the extra free throw and Williamson made his, but it’s only fitting that these two in particular kicked things off now that NBA basketball is officially underway again.
For the Jazz’s starting center, these games represent a chance to redeem himself (or at least distract fans from his weird takes by reminding everyone he’s good at basketball) after his callousness in regards to COVID-19 eventually led to him being the first positive case in the NBA.
That strained relations with his star teammate, Donovan Mitchell, but now that everyone’s COVID-free, hopefully more buckets like this will help repair that bond.
As for Zion, NBA fans were relieved to learn he would in fact be playing on Thursday after he was listed as a game-time decision. This was the result of the Pelicans rookie leaving the league bubble for eight days to tend to an urgent family matter. After quarantining for four days upon his return, Williamson only got two practices in before Thursday’s game.
Luckily, it doesn’t appear his recent absence from the court has adversely affected his game, since Zion quickly scored New Orleans’ first five points. He was subbed out after just three minutes, staying consistent with head coach Alvin Gentry’s plan to limit him to short bursts of playing time.
In any case, we couldn’t be more excited that the NBA is back, and it’s only fitting that Gobert and Williamson are the ones that got things started.