SportsPulse: Need a refresher on where we left off with the NBA before play was halted? Mackenzie Salmon hits the rewind button and gets us up to speed.
The first two days of the NBA’s restarted season tipped off Thursday and Friday, with two overtime thrillers highlighting the second night of action. Out West, the Trail Blazers survived the Memphis Grizzlies 140-135 and the Houston Rockets escaped the Dallas Mavericks 153-149 – both in extra frames. And the Milwaukee Bucks fended off the Boston Celtics for what would be a preview of the Eastern Conference Finals.
What does Day 3 have in store for NBA fans? There are five games on tap, starting with the Miami Heat vs. the Denver Nuggets (1 p.m. ET, ESPN). Then the Utah Jazz take on the Oklahoma City Thunder (3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN), the New Orleans Pelicans face the Los Angeles Clippers (6 p.m. ET, ESPN), the Indiana Pacers and Philadelphia 76ers square off (7 p.m. ET), with the Los Angeles Lakers and Toronto Raptors (8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN) capping off the night.
Remember, playoff spots and seeding are on the line in the final stretch, no matter how much it feels like the beginning of a season.
Keep it here for updates throughout the day and into the night from Jeff Zillgitt, Mark Medina — on the ground at Disney — and the USA TODAY Sports NBA team, including analysis, news and highlights:
EASTERN PREVIEW:Do the Celtics have the talent to beat the Bucks?
Stand or kneel for anthem?
Miami’s Meyers Leonard, whose brother Bailey is a Marine and served at least two tours in Afghanistan, stood for the national anthem but wore a Black Lives Matter t-shirt.
“Some of the conversations I’ve had over the past three days, quite literally, have been the most difficult,” Leonard told The Associated Press. “I am with the Black Lives Matter movement, and I love and support the military and my brother and the people who have fought to defend our rights in this country.”
Denver’s Michael Porter Jr., who praised Orlando’s Jonathan Isaac’s decision to stand and not wear a Black Lives Matter t-shirt on Friday, knelt and wore a Black Lives Matter shirt.
In 2 now-deleted posts last night, Michael Porter Jr. supported Jonathan Isaac’s decision not to kneel for the national anthem. This is important because Michael Malone reiterated to his players that the decision is a personal choice and they’d have support of org. either way. pic.twitter.com/D7y4UM6ii1
— Mike Singer (@msinger) August 1, 2020
Not everyone is kneeling, including Spurs coach Gregg Popovich and Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon.
NBA ensures Butler changes jersey
Miami All-Star Jimmy Butler wanted to leave the back of his jersey blank and even though that wasn’t an approved option for players wishing to put a message on the back of their jerseys.
Butler tried to start Saturday’s game against Denver with no message or name listed on his jersey, but league officials made him change into jersey that had his name on it before the game.
Butler wanted a blank jersey to a be representation that society gives him name value because of his ability on the basketball court but without the jersey he is a representation of every person who looks like him and until everyone has equal value, no one does.
SportsPulse: The NBA has finally gotten back underway and our NBA experts ranked all 22 teams participating in the reset.