The Clippers spoiled the party for the Lakers. LeBron James’ team opened the 2020-2021 season with the traditional ceremony of awarding the rings that awards the title they obtained in the previous one, which ended just two months ago in the Disney World bubble in Orlando. After the celebration, they lost to the Clippers (109-116) the Los Angeles derby, one of the highlights of the new campaign.
The forecasts predict that the duel is called to be repeated in the final of the Western Conference, although last season that was also thought, but the Clippers were eliminated in the semifinal by the Denver Nuggets. This time, to begin with, the Lakers were not at the level that allowed them to reach the last title with a series of flawless performances in the playoffs, in which they edged Portland, Houston, Denver and Miami with authority.
In the season opener, they couldn’t contain Paul George, who led the Clippers with a terrific performance and had 33 points, six rebounds and three assists. He formed a decisive duo with Kawhi Leonard, who chipped in 26 points despite only scoring one of eight 3-pointers he shot. The Clippers swept in the first quarter (19-39).
LeBron James was the best of his team, but without reaching the excellence of other times. He finished with 22 points, five rebounds and five assists. And Anthony Davis performed at a similar level, with 18 points and seven rebounds.
The two teams presented their new additions to their starting quintets, starting with the duel between the centers that arrived in Los Angeles from the Toronto Raptors. Serge Ibaka won the game over Marc Gasol. The Congolese center had 15 points and six rebounds. The one from Sant Boi, who wears the number 14 in the Lakers since the 33 he had so far has been retired in the Lakers in honor of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, only played 12 minutes, committed five fouls, did not shoot a basket and captured a rebound and gave an assist. The German Schröder, who stood out with 14 points, 12 rebounds and eight rebounds, also debuted as a starting point guard for the Lakers. His team dominated the rebound, but was wrong on the triples, with 9 of 29 (31%). The Clippers, in which Tyronn Lue has relieved Doc Rivers as coach, enforced the teamwork of Beverley, Zubac and Lou Williams.
Lakers, 109; Clippers, 116
Lakers: Schröder (14), Caldwell Pope (9), LeBron James (22), Anthony Davis (18), Marc Gasol (0) –equipo inicial-; Morris (5), Harrell (17), Kuzma (15), Caruso (3), Matthews (0) y Horton-Tucker (6).
Clippers: Beverley (10), Batum (3), Leonard (26), Paul George (33), Ibaka (15) –equipo inicial-; Patterson (3), Zubac (11), Lou Williams (11) y Kenrd (4).
Partial: 19-39, 35-17, 24-33 and 31-27.
Staples Center in Los Angeles.
The Brooklyn Nets beat the Golden State Warriors (125-99) in the first meeting of the opening day. Kevin Durant successfully completed his long-awaited return to the courts after a year and a half of absence due to the injury he suffered precisely when he played the 2019 final with the Warriors against the Raptors. Durant gave the feeling of being fully recovered physically and added 22 points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals. Kyrie Irving, who also played just 20 games last season due to injury, was the game’s top scorer with 26 points, plus six rebounds and six assists. Steve Nash, who made his NBA coaching debut, formed the starting five with Irving, Dinwiddie, Joe Harris, Durant and DeAndre Jordan. LeVert also stood out, with 20 points coming off the bench.
The Warriors, who had not played since March after a bad previous season in which they suffered heavily from injuries, were led by Stephen Curry with 20 points and 10 assists. The Bay team cannot count on Klay Thompson, who was seriously injured again in November, and Draymon Green, also injured, could not play in the first game. The 19-year-old center of 2.16 meters, James Wiseman, chosen at number two in the last draft, made his debut. He came out in the starting five and had 19 points and six rebounds in 24 minutes.
Brooklyn, 125; Golden State, 99
Brooklyn: Irving (26), Dinwiddie (9), Joe Harris (10), Kevin Durant (22), DeAndre Jordan (4) –equipo inicial-; Jeff Green (7), Prince (1), Perry (2), Kurucs (3), Allen (8), LeVert (20), Luwawau (5), Shamet (6) y Brown (2).
Golden State: Curry (20), Wiggins (13), Oubre (6), Paschall (6), Wiseman (19) –equipo inicial-; Loney (4), Chriss (9), Toscano (4), Wanamaker (3), Bazemore (2), Lee (3), Mulder (8) y Poole (2).
Partial: 40-25, 23-20, 36-26 and 26-28.
Barclays Center de Brooklyn.
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