The Los Angeles Clippers used their depth and defense to earn a statement 112-102 win over the Los Angeles Lakers during their seasoning opener on Tuesday. The Clippers poured in 60 points, each active reserve scoring in the double digits. The Clippers also pushed the pace, scoring 22 fast break points to the Lakers’ five.
“What I saw on our team was just overall team toughness,” said Clippers coach Doc Rivers. “I thought our ball pressure changed the game for us.”
At the end of the game, Clippers guard Patrick Beverly tossed a game ball into the stands. On Wednesday, the NBA fined him $25,000 for his actions. Beverley led the Clippers in rebounds with 10, reigning NBA champ forward Kawhi Leonard scored 30 points.
Champion guard Danny Green led the Lakers with 28 points and forward LeBron James landed 10 rebounds. The Lakers went into the match with guard Rajon Rondo and forward Kyle Kuzma.
“Kuzma being out [was bad],” said Lakers forward Anthony Davis. “[He] is very talented and able to score.”
The Lakeshow hit an early rhythm, making a 13-6 run in the first five minutes of the game. But the Lakers began making fouls, sending Clippers players to the free throw line. Leonard came alive in the second quarter, scoring seven points in three regulated minutes.
“I felt like I got to my spots early,” Leonard said. “I just started making shots, that’s what happened.”
Maurice Harkless put on the defensive pressure while the Clippers found shots. Meanwhile the Lakers struggled with turnovers.
“We as a group did a great job tonight just being disruptive,” Harkless said. “That something we want to pride ourselves on this season.”
Guard Avery Bradley and Davis kept the Lakers in the game, but could not gain a lead. By halftime, the Clippers were up 62-54 after scoring 40 points in the second quarter alone.
“[The Clippers] made some tough shots in the second quarter,” James said. “We let our offense dictate our defense. We have to be better at that. Obviously, 40 points in any quarter is too much.”
James racked up 18 points and eight assists in the matchup.
Green did not miss a single shot in the third quarter, earning 18 points. He helped the Lakers find a 12-point run and the game was tied at 85. However, the Lakers’ momentum was short lived.
“A lot of guys didn’t play pre-season, but we’re so used to closing out games and fighting for whatever,” said Clippers guard Patrick Beverley. “Of course, with the addition of Kawhi [Leonard], it made it a lot easier tonight also.”
As the Lakers shots weren’t falling, the Clippers were executing on the field and at the free throw line.
“It’s the first game, We’re not down or upset,” Davis said, he scored 25 points that night. “We are staying level-headed going into the next game.”
The Clippers now head up north to battle the Golden State Warriors in their season opening game on October 24 at 7:30P.M. and the Lakers host the Utah Jazz on October 25 at 7:30P.M.