The Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers opened the 2019-20 NBA season Tuesday, with the Clippers posting a 112-102 win over their intra-city rival.
Both teams showcased their major off-season acquisitions – in the Clippers’ case, San Diego State alum Kawhi Leonard.
Leonard, in his Los Angeles debut at the Staples Center, scored 30, with 6 rebounds and 5 assists.
He complimented his new team, saying they “fight hard every single night,” but the usually stoic Leonard acknowledged that being in Southern California – he has roots in Riverside County – was special for him.
— LA Clippers (@LAClippers) October 23, 2019
“Once I’m playing the game, I’m locked in,” he said, “but before the game, last night, (there were) a lot of emotions knowing my family was going to be here tonight.”
The Clippers signed Leonard, a two-time NBA Finals MVP, in July. The team also acquired six-time all-star forward Paul George in a trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
George missed the opener due to a shoulder injury. Leonard and George are among eight newcomers on the Clippers’ roster.
Forward Anthony Davis also made his debut for the Lakers. He scored 25, while LeBron James scored 18.
The team acquired Davis, the six-time NBA all-star from the New Orleans Pelicans, July 6 in a three-team trade that also involved the Washington Wizards.
Davis is among 10 newcomers on the Lakers, including center Dwight Howard, who returns to the team after a six-season absence.
The game was also the Laker coaching debut of Frank Vogel, the team’s fifth coach since the retirement of Phil Jackson in 2011.
He replaces Luke Walton. The team and Walton “mutually agreed to part ways” April 12, after the Lakers missed the NBA playoffs for the sixth straight season. They had missed the playoffs just five times in their 65 seasons prior to that streak.
If you want to see Leonard now that he’s back on the West Coast, the game also marks the start of the Clippers “Honey Steal of a Deal” ticket campaign.
A limited number of $10 tickets will be available at Staples Center 90 minutes before tip-off at each of their 41 regular-season home games. Those sales will take place only at box office windows 16 and 17.
To purchase the tickets, fans must be wearing Clippers colors (red and blue) and following the Los Angeles-based shopping website Honey on Instagram.
– City News Service