2019 NBA Pre-season: Recap

The 2019 pre-season of one of the most anticipated chapters in the National Basketball Association’s history delivers on what it promised during the summer draft and free agency moratorium. This year, the NBA added arenas in India and Japan in addition to those in China and Canada, which hosted last year’s international games. The pre-season warms up the players, entertains fans, and gives teams the opportunity to make roster cuts. It also displays the potential and athleticism of the crème de la crème in the face of some of the newcomers – Zion Williamson, RJ Barrett, and Tacko Fall.

The night of Oct.6, the All-Star duo of Lebron James and Anthony Davis scored a combination of 37 points in a decisive win for Los Angeles against Golden State. Kawhi Leonard made his debut with the Clippers with seven points, six assists and one rebound against the Denver Nuggets, who won the game 111 to 91. Russel Westbrook also made his first appearance with the Houston Rockets’ black jersey. The former Oklahoma City Thunder player made 13 points, six assists and two rebounds in 21 minutes, which was not enough for the Rockets to secure a win against Toronto in Japan.

Game Day for the Toronto Raptors; photo by Ryan McHugh

In addition to the league’s usual vanguard, Lonzo Ball and Zion Williamson showed athletic chemistry in both victories of the New Orleans Pelicans. Explosive, listed at 6 feet 6 inches tall, and weighing 285 pounds, the 19-year-old Williamson was not shy to utilize his size. Drawing falls, continuously slam-dunking and assisting, the former Duke player was active in the paint, scoring 16 points against the Atlanta Hawks and 29 points against the Chicago Bulls.

“He is an extremely hard worker,” Pelican head coach Alvin Gentry said. “He is not here to save our franchise, he is here to be a part of sustainable winning.”

On Oct. 12, New Orleans continued its winning streak by beating Utah 128 to 127.

In the Eastern Conference, Tacko Fall of the Boston Celtics excited the crowd in TD Garden, the team’s home arena, with his debut on Oct. 6 against the Charlotte Hornets. The 7 feet 7 inches tall 23-year-old Fall soared over Bismack Biyombo, who was the tallest player on the court for the Hornets at 6 feet 9 inches. Fall’s height helped the team, as the Celtics beat the Hornets 107 to 106.

Ending on Oct. 18, the pre-season offers new appearances and athletic clashes before the official NBA launch on Oct. 22.

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