Game 1 of the Battle of Los Angeles lived up to its billing as the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers kicked off their rivalry on 2019-20 NBA Opening Night.
However, it would be the Clippers who would walk away with a 112-102 victory.
The game featured several debuts as Anthony Davis and Kawhi Leonard officially suited up for their new teams. Davis looked impressive in his first game with the Lakers as he finished with 25 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, and two blocks in 37 minutes of action.
Danny Green, one of the key additions in the offseason for Los Angeles, had about as great a debut as one could have asked for as he poured in 28 points and knocked down six three-pointers. Green heated up in the third quarter as he single-handedly sparked a 15-3 run to close the period and tie the game heading into the fourth.
However, Davis’ co-star LeBron James had a sub-par night by his standards as he only managed to score 18 points on 7-of-19 shooting, but did add nine rebounds and eight assists. He also seemed to make a more concerted effort on the defensive end as he drew several charges and made a highlight-reel block on Landry Shamet.
Throughout the night, it was apparent the team had no answer for Leonard as the 2019 Finals MVP ended the night with 30 points on 10-of-19 shooting. The Clippers All-Star player was impossible to stop when he got to his spots, routinely knocking down mid-range jumpers over defenders and kicking out to shooters when help came over.
A close look at the box score shows the two teams were evenly matched from a production standpoint, but the Clippers had the edge in fast-break points as they outscored the Lakers there, 22-5. The easy looks helped halt any momentum the purple and gold generated and was ultimately the difference in the game.
Despite the loss, there were still some positives to take away from the game. They draw the Utah Jazz for their home opener on Oct. 25.