The NBA season took place with an exciting match in Los Angeles.
Los Angeles may always be a Lakers town, but on Tuesday, the Clippers made their claim with a 112-102 victory on the opening night. It was just the first match of the season, but this was a statement for the Clippers after both teams threw themselves into the ranks of title contenders with a busy summer.
After leading the Raptors to their first title in franchise history last season, Kawhi Leonard chose the right place where he left off, pouring 30 points into the 10-of-19 shooting to lead all the scorers. He added five rebounds, six assists and two blocks in a strong debut for his new club.
On the other side, Anthony Davis had a great start but faltered in the second half. He finished with 25 points and 10 rebounds, but needed 21 shots to get there, and had a hard time dealing with the physicality of the Clippers’ defense. Similarly, LeBron James struggled in the second half, and finished with 18 points in the 7-of-19 shooting, simultaneously adding nine rebounds and eight assists.
Leonard chose where he left off
The last time we saw Kawhi Leonard in a meaningful basketball game was Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals as he helped Raptors finish off the Warriors to win the first title in franchise history. Now, Finals MVP reigns in Los Angeles, and he chose the right place where he left off.
After a slow first quarter in which he took only a few shots and mostly felt out of the game, Leonard took over. He dumped 16 points in the second quarter alone to lead a Clippers rally that helped them lead the halftime. In the fourth quarter, he added seven more people to help the Clippers win, and ended the night with 30 points in a series of 10 shots on 19, six rebounds and five assists.
There are still 81 games to go, but there will be fewer matches than this one and Leonard did exactly what the Clippers had expected of him when they signed him. The jury still doesn’t know if he’s the best player in the world, but on Tuesday night, he proved that right now he’s the best player in Los Angeles.