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NBA Outlook: 7/30 Preview

Kawhi Leonard defends Lebron James/ Photo Credit Andrew D. Bernstein (NBAE)

The NBA is back! The 2020 regular season officially begins tonight at Disney World’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando.

Each team will play eight regular-season games to determine seeding for the upcoming NBA playoffs. Regular-season games wrap up on August 14, with the NBA playoffs tipping off August 17.

Utah Jazz (41-23/0-0) vs New Orleans Pelicans (28-36/ 0-0)

When: Thursday, July 30th at 6:30pm.

Where: HP Field House in Orlando, Florida

TV: TNT / Radio: ESPN 100.3FM

Injury/Opt Out:

Utah Jazz: Bojan Bogdanovic (Out for season/ Right Wrist)

New Orleans: Darius Miller (Out for season/ Achilles)

Utah Jazz:

111.0 - points per game

107.9- points against

47.5 - Field goal %

New Orleans:

116.2 - points per game

117.0 - points against

46.2 - field goal %

Keep an eye on:

Sense of Urgency: from opening tip will be something to keep an eye on. The Jazz sit in fourth place in the western conference with 41 wins, however, OKC, Houston and Dallas all are right there with 40 wins. Lets be real, no team wants to face either team from LA early in the playoffs, doing so will more than likely mean an early exit from the bubble. Delaying that meeting in the playoffs is ideal, so it would be wise for the Jazz to come out focused from the opening tip.

New Orleans is a young team and are looking to earn a playoff spot. Add in their inexperience as a whole and you can understand why they the can ill afford to not bring maximum energy out the gate. The Pelicans are currently tied with Portland (29-37)and Sacramento (28-36), while also being 3 1/2 games behind eighth-place Memphis (32-33). Ten players on the New Orleans roster are 25 or younger. Veteran guards JJ Redick and Jrue Holiday have the most playoff experience on the roster, so look for them to keep their young counterparts locked in on the goal at hand. Playing with a sense of urgency is must.

Los Angeles Lakers (49-14/0-0) vs Los Angeles Clippers (44-20/ 0-0)

When: Thursday, July 30th at 9 pm.

Where: The Arena (WWOS) in Orlando, Florida

TV: TNT, SPECSN, FSPT / Radio: AM 570 LA Sports

Injury/Opt Out:

LA Lakers: Avery Bradley (Out/ Opt Out Due to Covid-19), Rajon Rondo (Out/ Broken Right Thumb), Anthony Davis (Probable/ Eye)

LA Clippers: Patrick Beverley (Questionable/ Personal), Montrezl Harrell (Out/ Personal), Lou Williams (Out/ NBA Protocol)

LA Lakers:

114.3 - points per game

106.9- points against

48.5 - Field goal %

LA Clippers:

116.2 - points per game

109.7 - points against

46.4 - field goal %

Keep an eye on:

Team Chemistry: and who regains it the quickest. It's a delicate thing to have in sports. It takes a while to build, yet, it can be gone at the snap of a finger. Lakers all star Lebron James, who is averaging 25.7 points, 10.6 assists, 7.9 rebounds and 1.2 steals, usually takes opening games of any sort, to get a feel for where the team is and responds accordingly. If the team is clicking on all cylinders, he will play his normal all around game. If the team is flat, he will get aggressive to score to get the Lakers going. Having Anthony Davis, who is having an efficient all around impact this season himself (26.7 points, 9.4 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 2.4 blocks and 1.5 steals, will certainly help LA overcome any rust sooner then later from the long lay-off over the last few months.

The Clippers on the other hand are still looking to consistently suit up their entire team to play. Key reserves Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell will miss tonight's game while starting point guard Patrick Beverley, the Clippers defensive ace, is questionable. Sixth man of the year candidates Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell average just over 37 points a game combined for the Clippers. Doc Rivers will have to look deep into his bench to try and make up for the production not available with Williams and Harrell being out, while Kawhi Leonard and Paul George focus on elevating their games. This obviously will prolong the process of building proper Chemistry needed to make a run for it all. Regardless, tonight is the night to start. Stay tuned!

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