Clippers Win Round One on Opening Night
October 24, 2019
In one of the most exciting open night games in recent memory the Clippers beat the Lakers 112-102 before a sellout crowd of over 19,000 fans last Tuesday night at the Staples Center. The game proved to have the makings of an Ali/Frazier heavy weight fight. The Lakers jumped out with an early lead in the first quarter but the Clippers bounced back to take a half time lead. By the end of the third quarter the game was tied at 85.
"It was unusual to have a game like that for the first game of the season," said Clipper coach Doc Rivers after the game. "From the moment they made the schedule it was it was positioned almost like a prize fight in a lot of ways."
Both teams are picked to finish high in the NBA standings and both teams are stacked with some of the best basketball players and coaches in the world. The Lakers added Anthony Davis to play alongside LeBron James and the Clippers brought in Kawhi Leonard and Paul George to help their team.
Both teams were missing a key player. The Lakers did not have Kyle Kuzma and Paul George of the Clippers is out because of an injury but last Tuesday the Clippers came out on top. "What I saw in my team was overall team toughness," said Rivers. "They hit us with a punch to start and we just kept moving forward. Our ball pressure and rebounding changed the game for us."
The Clippers bench outscored the Laker bench 60 to 19 and that was the difference in the game and also the Lakers made some timely mistakes in the fourth quarter. "Down the stretch we had some careless turnovers and costly turnovers," said LeBron James. "I had three of them and that was careless. We had some great looks but it just didn't go."
A lot of teams in the NBA have improved this year and James knows it. "The NBA is back but we have a lot of room to improve. We have a new coaching staff and a new system. We are trying to get better every single day. I am a little rusty not being in a game situation in a while but it was great to get back out there."
The Lakers will play home games on Friday against Utah at 7:30 p.m., on Sunday at 6:30 p.m. against Charlotte and Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. they face Memphis. The Clippers next home games are Monday at 7:30 p.m. against Utah and Thursday at 7:30 p.m. against the San Antonio.