Players kneel as National Basketball Association restarts in Florida 'bubble'

Through Donovan Mitchell’s eyes NBA’s perilous complicated glorious return

Through Donovan Mitchell’s eyes NBA’s perilous complicated glorious return

Kyle Lowry had 33 points, 14 rebounds and six assists, leading the Toronto Raptors to a 107-92 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday at The Arena near Orlando.

OG Anunoby added 23 points on 8-of-9 shooting including a flawless 3-for-3 from three-point range, four rebounds, one assist, and two steals, while Fred VanVleet contributed 13 points, 11 assists, five rebounds, one steal, and one block.

NBA teams bowed their heads and knelt during the playing of the US national anthem while wearing Black Lives Matter T-shirts on Thursday as the league returned for the first time since the coronavirus halted play in March with two thrilling games. If the Lakers beat the Raptors in the 2nd game of the National Basketball Association 2020 restart they will secure the top spot in the Western Conference table.

Both games started with players - wearing T-shirts emblazoned with "Black Lives Matter" - kneeling in unison as the "Star-Spangled Banner" played.

Almost five months later, playing in unprecedented conditions that include virtual fans and piped in noise in the NBA's "bubble" at Walt Disney World, the Raptors quickly made up for lost time.

Toronto took a 13-0 lead as the Lakers went 4:51 before scoring, but the Lakers rallied within 23-21 after the first quarter.

LeBron James had 20 points and 10 rebounds, and Anthony Davis had just 14 points after he scored 34 in a win against the Los Angeles Clippers in their first game back on Thursday night. However, the Lakers had chopped Toronto's benefit to 72-70 with a quarter to perform with.

"We just have to step up and knock them down", James said.

Anunoby, who's rebounded from the COVID-19 lockdown looking better than ever, had a steal and running dunk, then VanVleet followed it up with a three to put Toronto up by 10 with five minutes to play.

Lowry emptied a three on the outstretched palms of Kuzma using 3:01 to perform with to put Toronto up 11, hollering animatedly into his teammates during the ensuing timeout.

Saturday's game was the Raptors' first of eight seeding-round matchups each of the 22 teams are playing in the NBA's "bubble" at Walt Disney World. The Raptor mascot made a long-distance appearance, waving his arms madly, virtually, from a baseline video screen while James shot free throws.

Athletes from around the world have united behind anti-racism protests sparked by the death of George Floyd, a Black man in police custody in Minneapolis in May.

They are front and center in the NBA's restart.

Large "Black Lives Matter" slogans have been written on each court, while players are allowed to wear jerseys adorned with messages ranging from "I Can't Breathe" to "Justice Now" and "Education Reform".

This report from The Canadian Press was published on August 1, 2020.

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