LA Lakers and Utah Jazz squeak via as NBA reopens amid player …

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Black players were next to white players. Coaches from one team were next to their compatriots from the opposing side. Many locked arms with the man next to them, some shut their eyes tightly, a few raised their fists into the air.

The NBA had a strong, powerful re-opening night message.

About Lakers
The Los Angeles Lakers are an American professional basketball team based in Los Angeles. The Lakers compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member of the league’s Western Conference Pacific Division. The Lakers play their home games at Staples Center, an arena shared with the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers, the Los Angeles Sparks of the Women’s National Basketball Association, and the Los Angeles Kings of the National Hockey League. The Lakers are one of the most successful teams in the history of the NBA, and have won 16 NBA championships, the second-most behind the Boston Celtics.
The franchise began with the 1947 purchase of a disbanded team, the Detroit Gems of the National Basketball League (NBL). The new team began playing in Minneapolis, calling themselves the Minneapolis Lakers. Initially a member of the NBL, the Lakers won the 1948 NBL championship before joining the rival Basketball Association of America, where they would win five of the next six championships, led by star George Mikan. After struggling financially in the late 1950s following Mikan’s retirement, they relocated to Los Angeles before the 1960–61 season.
Led by Hall of Famers Elgin Baylor and Jerry West, Los Angeles made the NBA Finals six times in the 1960s, but lost each series to the Celtics, beginning their long and storied rivalry. In 1968, the Lakers acquired four-time NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP) Wilt Chamberlain, and won their sixth NBA title—and first in Los Angeles—in 1972, led by new head coach Bill Sharman. After the retirement of West and Chamberlain, the team acquired Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who also won multiple MVP awards, but was unable to make the Finals in the late 1970s.
The 1980s Lakers were nicknamed “Showtime” due to their fast break-offense led by Magic Johnson. The team won five championships in a nine-year span, and contained Hall of Famers Johnson, Abdul-Jabbar, and James Worthy, and was led by Hall of Fame coach Pat Riley. After Abdul-Jabbar and Johnson retired, the team struggled in the early 1990s, before acquiring Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant in 1996. With the duo, who were led by another Hall of Fame coach Phil Jackson, the team won three consecutive titles between 2000 to 2002, securing the franchise its second “three-peat”. The Lakers won two more championships in 2009 and 2010, but failed to regain their former glory in the following decade.
The Lakers hold the record for NBA’s longest winning streak, 33 straight games, set during the 1971–72 season. Twenty-six Hall of Famers have played for Los Angeles, while four have coached the team. Four Lakers—Abdul-Jabbar, Johnson, O’Neal, and Bryant—have won the NBA MVP Award for a total of eight awards.

LA Lakers and Utah Jazz squeak by as NBA reopens amid player …

About squeak
The Squeak programming language is a dialect of Smalltalk. It is object-oriented, class-based, and reflective.
It was derived directly from Smalltalk-80 by a group at Apple Computer that included some of the original Smalltalk-80 developers. Its development was continued by the same group at Walt Disney Imagineering, where it was intended for use in internal Disney projects. Later on the group moved on to be supported by HP labs, SAP Labs and most recently Y Combinator.
Squeak is cross-platform. Programs produced on one platform run bit-identical on all other platforms, and versions are available for many platforms including the obvious Windows/macOS/linux versions. The Squeak system includes code for generating a new version of the virtual machine (VM) on which it runs. It also includes a VM simulator written in Squeak. For these reasons, it is easily ported.

When it comes to demanding change, the league stands united and on Thursday, the Utah Jazz and New Orleans Pelicans showed that by not standing.

An unprecedented image for the league in unprecedented times: The Jazz and Pelicans knelt alongside one another during “The Star-Spangled Banner,” their way of joining the chorus of those demanding racial justice and equality in society.

LA Lakers and Utah Jazz squeak by as NBA reopens amid player …

The NBA has a rule that dates back to the early 1980s decreeing that players must stand for the national anthem, and Commissioner Adam Silver quickly announced that the policy is being adjusted.

“I respect our teams’ unified act of peaceful protest for social justice and under these unique circumstances will not enforce our long-standing rule requiring standing during the playing of our national anthem,” said Silver, who watched from a plexiglass-enclosed suite because he has not been quarantined and therefore cannot be around players and coaches who are living inside the NBA’s so-called bubble at Walt Disney World.

The coaches, New Orleans’ Alvin Gentry and Utah’s Quin Snyder, were next to one another, their arms locked together. The scene, which occurred with the teams lined up along the sideline nearest where “Black Lives Matter” was painted onto the court, was the first of what is expected to be many silent game-day statements by players and coaches who will kneel to call attention to many issues foremost among them, police brutality following the deaths of, among others, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd in recent months.

Even the game referees took a knee during the pregame scene. The Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers repeated the demonstration before the second game of the re-opening night doubleheader later Thursday.

“I think it’s critical that all of us, in a unified way, turn attention to social justice,” Snyder said during a televised in-game interview. “And all the players, all the coaches, are united in that fact and committed to do what we can do to effect long-term change.”

Many players warmed up wearing shirts that said ‘Black Lives Matter’. Thursday also marked the debut of new jerseys bearing messages that many players chose to have added, such as ‘Equality’ and ‘Peace’.

The NBA season was suspended when Rudy Gobert who also scored the first basket of the restarted season of the Jazz tested positive for the coronavirus and became the first player in the league with such a diagnosis.

Gobert was diagnosed on 11 March; two days later, Taylor, a 26-year-old black woman, was fatally shot when police officers burst into her Louisville, Kentucky apartment using a no-knock warrant during a narcotics investigation. The warrant was in connection with a suspect who did not live there and no drugs were found.

Then on 25 March, Floyd died after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed a knee into the Black man’s neck for nearly eight minutes. That happened on a street, with the images and sounds of the man saying he couldn’t breathe, then crying out for his mother all captured on a cell phone video.

NBA players have used their platforms both in the bubble and on social media to demand equality, to demand justice for Taylor. Coaches have also said it is incumbent on them to demand change and educate themselves and others. And the pregame actions by the Jazz and the Pelicans were just the start of what is expected to be a constant during the remainder of this season.

“We want our lives to be valued as much as everybody else,” Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum said in a video that aired before the game, a project organized by both the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association. “We don’t think that we’re better. We want to be seen as equals.”

Added Chris Paul, the Oklahoma City Thunder guard and president of the NBPA, speaking in the same video: “Things aren’t going to change until we sort of make them change.”

Gentry said he appreciated the accidental symmetry that came from the first games of the restarted season coming only hours after the funeral for US representative John Lewis, who died July 17 at the age of 80.

Lewis spent most of his life championing civil rights and equality and was the youngest speaker at the 1963 March on Washington the one where Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech. Gentry said he believes this movement, like the one Lewis helped spark six decades ago, will endure.

“If you talk to some of the younger generation, I think this is here to stay. I really do,” Gentry said. “I have a 20-year-old son and a 22-year-old son, and I know that they feel like this is the most opportune time for us to try to have change in this country.”

LA Clippers 101-103 LA Lakers

LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers showed some rust.

They knocked it off with time to spare.

Anthony Davis scored 34 points, James had the go-ahead basket with 12.8 seconds left and the Lakers moved closer to clinching the No 1 seed in the Western Conference playoffs by topping the Los Angeles Clippers 103-101 on Thursday night in the second game of the NBA’s re-opening doubleheader.

James had 16 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists to help the Lakers move six and a half games ahead of the Clippers in the West with seven games remaining. Kyle Kuzma added 16 points.

“It felt like a real game to me, two teams battling. … Can’t complain for the first game,” Davis said.

Paul George had 30 points and Kawhi Leonard scored 28 for the Clippers, who had an 11-point lead midway through the third in a game with deep ebbs and flows. The Clippers got that lead after a 26-5 run; the Lakers immediately rebutted with a 36-14 run to reclaim control.

And it still came down to the final moments.

George’s three-pointer with 1:50 left cut the Lakers’ lead to 99-98. James muscled his way to a layup on the next possession, and then George hit another three to tie the game at 101 with 29 seconds remaining.

James followed his own miss down the lane for the go-ahead basket, then was brilliant on the last defensive possession – forcing the ball out of Leonard’s hands and covering George as his three-point try at the buzzer misfired.

“We can’t have self-inflicted wounds and I thought we had too many of them,” said Clippers coach Doc Rivers, whose team – which remains short-handed with Lou Williams still in quarantine and Montrezl Harrell tending to a family matter – gave up 29 points off turnovers.

Thursday marked the NBA’s first game action in 141 days, the league getting back to work after the coronavirus pandemic forced a shutdown.

James – who is going to win his first assist title – had five in the first quarter to get teammates going, and then his first basket of the restart came on a dunk early in the second quarter to put the Lakers up 37-24.

But for a stretch that basically spanned a full quarter, spanning the second and third periods, the Lakers couldn’t make a shot. They went 1 for 10 to end the half, then 0 for 9 to start the third and the Clippers took advantage.

They turned a 50-40 deficit into a 66-55 edge in the third. And then it was the Lakers’ turn to rally, slicing the Clippers’ lead to 77-76 going into the fourth.

“It was a good game,” Leonard said. “Still had fun out there. It was great to be back on the floor.”

Utah Jazz 106-104 New Orleans Pelicans

Rudy Gobert sank two free throws with 6.9 seconds left to cap a 14-point, 12-rebound and three-block performance, giving the Utah Jazz a 106-104 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans in the first game of the NBA’s restart.

New Orleans, which led for most of the game and by as many as 16 points, nearly pulled out the victory as time expired when Brandon Ingram’s three-point attempt rimmed out in a bitter end to his 23-point night.

Zion Williamson, who missed nearly two weeks of practice after leaving the team for a family medical matter on July 16, was deemed fit to start, although his playing time was limited.

He scored 13 points in just more than 15 minutes, highlighted by a couple alley-oop dunks, one on a nearly half-court lob from Lonzo Ball.

But Williamson checked out for good with 7:19 left in the fourth quarter and had to watch the tense finish from the sideline.

Jordan Clarkson scored 23 points for Utah and helped lead a second-half comeback, while Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conley each added 20.

JJ Redick scored 21, including a clutch 3 to tie it at 102, while Jrue Holiday added 20 points for New Orleans.

The game was tied at 104 after Ingram’s free throws with 32 seconds left and Conley missed inside with just less than 20 seconds to go, but got his own rebound. The Jazz moved the ball to Mitchell, whose drive forced New Orleans to collapse on him before he fed Gobert for a dunk attempt that Derrick Favors could only stop with forceful foul.

Gobert, who’d featured prominently on defense with clean rejections of Williamson and Favors, calmly made the deciding foul shots.

With Williamson on the bench, New Orleans closed the first quarter with an 18-4 run, highlighted by Ingram’s dunk, finger roll and 3, to take a lead they would hold until late in the fourth quarter.

New Orleans had its biggest lead when Holiday’s fadeaway made it 60-44 late in the second quarter, and the Pelicans took a 60-48 advantage into halftime.

After Utah methodically pulled within one possession in the middle of the fourth quarter, New Orleans threatened to pull away again when Ingram hit a pull-up and E’Twaun Moore hit a three made possible by Jaxson Hayes’ offensive rebound.

But the Jazz weren’t finished, going on an 11-1 run, marked by Mitchell’s driving floater off the glass, to take a late three-point lead inside the final four minutes.