Clippers Beat Lakers In Round One of the Battle of Los Angeles

 Kawhi Leonard sends a message to the Lakers with this second quarter dunk on opening night in the NBA (Photo credit- USA Today)
Kawhi Leonard sends a message to the Lakers with this second quarter dunk on opening night in the NBA (Photo credit- USA Today)

By Cameron Buford, Whatsgoodinsports.com

In easily the most anticipated matchup between the Los Angeles Clippers and Lakers, they both have realistic chances of representing the Western Conference in the Finals. As the 2019- 2020 regular season in the NBA begins both teams have retooled and are looking to stake their claim on the best team in Los Angeles this season.

In addition to a healthy LeBron James, the Lakers added Anthony Davis, 2 Time champion Danny Green, and defensive-minded Avery Bradley to their roster. They also resigned Javale McGee and longtime veterans Rajon Rondo and Jared Dudley. This team would rely heavily on the dominance of AD (Anthony Davis) to lead them into the future.

The Clippers, on the other hand, have added the Leagues Finals MVP from last season in Kawhi Leonard, along with one of the better two-way players in the league in Paul George. These defensive-minded players would be paired with the tough and gritty team that made the playoffs last season led by Patrick Beverley. The

This offseason for both teams intrigued their fans and basketball fans well enough that each team has something to prove. Though both teams will come out to make their mark in Game 1 it was only “1 game of 82 games,” per Clipper Head Coach Doc Rivers.

The game started with the Lakers showing the world all that they good be by dominated the first half of the 1st quarter. AD came out showing off his agility and toughness down low while hitting 3 of his first 7 shots and getting to the free-throw line by shooting 7 shoots. LeBron showed off his typical all-around game as he opened up with 6 points in the quarter, 3 rebounds and just 1 assist, though he was in charge early.

The Clippers seemed to be knocked back off their feet early in the game then had to regain their composure in front of what started as a pro Lakers crowd at Staples. Doc turned to his bench to get the Clipper back in the game, JaMychal Green, Maurice Harkless, and Montrezl Harrell scored 16 off the bench to keep them in striking distance.

In the second quarter, Kawhi Leonard showed the Lakers, and the NBA, who is now the best player in the game. By hitting 7 straight buckets, Kawhi inspired and led his team to a 40-point quarter coupled with the energy of Maurice Harkless who showed he can play great defense and capitalize on his easy buckets. Looking back at it, this dominating quarter proved to be the differentiator in the game.

It took a light’s out shooting display from Danny Green to get the Lakers back in the game in the third quarter. His 5 three-pointers paced the Lakers with 18 points in the quarters and the next leading scoring was AD with 7 points. LeBron was surprisingly passive and unassertive posting only 2 points and 2 assists in that pivotal third quarter.

In front of a sellout crowd of 19,068 at Staples in downtown Los Angeles in a game that was nationally televised on TNT, this was the only game for NBA fans to enjoy. That being said, everyone saw the Clippers limit the Lakers to 17 points. Most important they allow Anthony Davis and Lebron James to manage only 2 points, 7 rebounds and 2 assists in the quarter. Conversely, Kawhi and Harrell alone

teamed up for 17 points and showed the energy and determination that eventually won over the crowd at Staples Center.

As for this game being seen as a rivalry, both LeBron James and Anthony Davis played it off by saying, “I disagree on how big of a test [this game was]. It’s only the first game. Obviously, the NBA season is back, and that’s what everybody is trying to [create] the narrative of a rivalry game and a huge test. I think [both teams] are not where we really want to be. We have a lot of room to improve. We are a new group that is coming together.”

James continued to say, “We have a new coaching staff. We have a new system. [It is not] a rivalry now. We’re trying to get better every single day. [We’re] trying to be as great as we can be. We did some good things tonight, and some not so good things. That happens in a game one, especially for a new club. We look forward to getting to the film room tomorrow and see some of the mistakes that we made, [and what] we could have done better.”

When asked his thoughts about the atmosphere at Staples Center Anthony Davis said, “[This game] was everything I expected. It was a very anticipated game. It was fun. The crowd made us feel at home on the road. It was a great atmosphere.”

I thought Maurice Harkless played a major role in generating the appropriate defensive energy that got the Clippers on track in this game, I wanted to ask Doc about this and he responded by saying, “I said it earlier when we were all talking about Paul [George] and Kawhi [Leonard], but nobody noticed that we added Moe Harkless to our team as well. He’s a hell of a defender. He got deflections, guarded multiple positions and allowed us to switch a lot defensively. I thought the 4spot in general, all three of those guys, contributed for us, and that’s big”

Though Patrick Beverley had to correct a reporter, as he wanted to compare Beverley to Matthew Dellvadova, for some silly reason. He did mention there were some things which they needed to improve upon when I asked him, he responded by saying, “[We can improve on] attitude from the beginning. We came out kind of slow. We also need to improve on helping out on corners and fouling. Throughout the whole game, I thought the bigs did a great job. They’re so long and so big, so them keeping Anthony Davis, JaVale McGee, Lebron [James], Dwight [Howard] off of the offensive rebound [was important]. We kind of slipped up in the second half, but we made the necessary adjustments in the second half to come up with the win.”

In regards to playing with Kawhi Leonard Montrezl Harrell told me, “We know what type of player he is. He is a dynamic player on both ends of the floor and we’ve seen it tonight for him to be out on the floor and for us to actually just be out there, and just be able to get a feel for him and what he can do on both ends of the floor, it felt amazing.”

This has not only been the most eagerly awaited season in the NBA, but I also can’t remember the NBA having a game that fans across the country looked forward to as much as this one. The electricity in the building was amazing and the Clippers did not disappoint. The Clippers looked good and the Lakers looked as if they have somethings to improve on. Did this game change your expectations for the Lakers or the Clippers this season? Please share your thoughts with us by commenting in the comment section of this article on www.whatsgoodinsports.com or by following me on Twitter at “Voice of the Fans” for immediate engagement. Additionally, subscribe to our weekly “Voice of the Fans Podcast” which is available for you on Apple and Google Podcasts including Spotify, TuneIn, and iHeart Radio. As always, we certainly appreciate you for making our voice your choice!