Rudy Gobert received a lot of heat after testing positive for COVID-19 back in March, which ultimately led to the shutdown of the NBA season. However, Gobert was able to get a little bit of redemption when he scored the first basket of the NBA restart on Thursday when the Utah Jazz took on the New Orleans Pelicans at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. Along with scoring the first basket of the NBA restart, Gobert scored the game's final points to help the Jazz beat the Pelicans 106-104.
"I'm just grateful," Gobert said in a phone interview with ESPN. "After everything that I've personally and everything the world is going through right now, to be able to keep inspiring millions of kids around the world and keep spreading positivity is just a blessing." Gobert then said it's great to start the NBA restart with a win.
Rudy Gobert, whose positive coronavirus test shut down the league in March, gets the first points of the NBA restart.
You can’t make this up. https://t.co/v9qOJ7lFtQ— Frank Pallotta (@frankpallotta) July 30, 2020
Gobert ended the night with 14 points 12, rebounds, and three blocks in the win. In order for the Jazz to make a run at the NBA Finals, Gobert, an All-Star, will need to be a factor the rest of the way. Another Jazz All-Star, Donovan Mitchell, also had a strong performance against the Pelicans and tested positive for the coronavirus in March. Gobert and Mitchell didn't speak for the first month of the hiatus due to Gobert's handling of the pandemic before knowing he had COVID-19. However, the two were able to iron things out and their focus is helping the Jazz win.
"That also kind of stops y'all from talking about it, to be honest with you, Mitchell said when talking about working with Gobert in the final moments of the game that led to the win. "I try to find my way and find guys who get open. For me, at the end of the game, it's about making the right read. I've told y'all a thousand times I'm trying to be a better passer, better playmaker as a whole." Gobert, Mitchell, and the rest of the Jazz will next face the Oklahoma City Thunder at The Arena on Saturday. The Jazz and the rest of the teams at the restart will play eight regular-season games before moving on to the playoffs.