Los Angeles Clippers
Clippers Notch Big Opening Night Win Over Lakers
The Los Angeles Clippers may have significantly fell short of expectations last season, but started this season off on the right foot with their 116-109 victory over the NBA Champion Los Angeles Lakers on opening night.
Paul George led the way with 33 points, while Kawhi Leonard chipped him 26 points to fuel the Clippers to the big victory.
“I thought it was great,” George said, following the game. “I thought we got great shots. Time after time, we got the shots we wanted. Again, it’s being aggressive, we put the ball on the ground and we attacked and we found the open man.”
“We turned the basketball over, and they got out in transition,” Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue added. “I think they had 15 points off our 11 turnovers at halftime. That was one of our emphasis coming into the game, we have to take care of the basketball, don’t let them get out in transition. Then I thought we got some good shots that we didn’t make, and they were able to get out in transition and get some easy baskets.
“But overall, I thought we did a great job, only having five turnovers in the second half. And then also, only giving up eight offensive rebounds and Trez had four of those and anytime you keep AD to zero offensive rebounds we’ve done a pretty good job. So with their size, and their length, we wanted to do a good job on the glass, so we did that.”
George sparked an offensive surge in the third quarter, when he came in for Leonard, and scored 12 consecutive points to increase the Clippers lead to double digits.
“This is him, I just think playing free, just playing his game,” Lue said. “We need him to do that, but then it’s also good for us to be able to stagger him and Kawhi. He comes out early, when he comes back he’s playing against those second unit guys. I mean, PG against second-unit guys is gonna be tough to handle so you know right now, a good win, a great Clippers win for us. But we got a lot more work to do to continue to keep building getting better, it’s going to be a process. This is a good start for us.”
Leonard came to George’s defense regarding the criticism of his play last season for the Clippers.
“Just because somebody makes shots, doesn’t mean they’re a leader. Last year when he was missing shots, he was still communicating, playing the right way, playing D, they just didn’t fall for him. You just can’t say a leader because you are making shots.”
– Kawhi on Paul George pic.twitter.com/CK8BMEX3af
— Tomer Azarly (@TomerAzarly) December 23, 2020