Over the last couple of years, the rivalry between the Lakers and Clippers for Los Angeles supremacy has seen a huge uptick in intensity. The addition of Chris Paul to the Clippers, after the infamous vetoed trade that prevented Paul from joining the Lakers, set off a number of actions leading to the Clippers gaining more respect.
Last year things came to a head when the Clippers swept the season series with the Lakers for the first time in team history, on their way to winning their first ever Pacific Division title. After a couple of off-season trades, the Clippers were expected to contend for the Western Conference crown while no one knew what to expect from the Lakers — especially with Kobe Bryant sidelined.
Coming into their showdown on opening night, the Clippers were the heavy favorites to topple the Lakers and stake their claim as the dominant team in Los Angeles. Unfortunately for them, the Lakers had other plans as a bunch of unknown players would lead the Lakers to a stunning victory in Staples Center.
The Lakers fought hard throughout the game, refusing to give an inch to their Staples Center co-residents and trailed only by four points going into the fourth quarter. The Lakers would bring out their bench to start the quarter as Jordan Farmar, Jodie Meeks, Wesley Johnson, Xavier Henry, and Jordan Hill came on the floor. Those same five never left the court the rest of the game.
Led by Henry’s career-high 22 points, the Lakers scored 41 points in the fourth quarter to take down the Clippers 116-103 in the season opener. The bench’s 76 total points, including five players in double figures, were the team’s highest total since 1988.
Although this season has been a struggle for the Lakers, especially with the numerous injuries suffered by so many key players, this victory on opening night serves as one of, if not, the highest point of the season.
On this Flashback Friday, we remember Opening Night 2013 when the Lakers defeated the Los Angeles Clippers.
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