Behind a game-high 30 points from Kawhi Leonard in his LA debut, the Clippers defeated the Los Angeles Lakers, 112-102, in their NBA season-opener Tuesday night at Staples Center.
Leonard, who was without his new All-Star teammate Paul George because of rotator cuff surgery, carried the Clippers offensively. He was the only starter in double-figures, while adding six rebounds, five assists, and two steals.
The Clippers' bench outscored the Lakers' bench, 60-19. Lou Williams, last season's 6th Man of the Year Award winner, dropped 21 points while Montrezl Harrell chipped in 17.
Fifth year forward JaMychal Green made a huge impact for the Clippers in just 19 minutes of work, scoring 12 points on 4-of-7 shooting from beyond the arc.
The Lakers got off to a hot start as the road team, beginning the game on a 13-2 run. It was started with a LeBron James layup assisted by his new teammate, Anthony Davis.
Davis played a team-high 37 minutes and scored 25 points on 8-of-21shooting in his first regular season game as a Laker. He also chipped in 10 rebounds, five assists, two blocks, and a steal.
James had a quiet 18 points in 36 minutes, but finished one rebound and two assists shy of a triple-double.
The Clippers closed the opening quarter strong and took their first lead in the second quarter thanks to a Maurice Harkless dunk, which made it 40-39.
After leading by eight at halftime, the Clippers jumped out to their largest lead of the game in the third quarter, 70-56.
The Lakers rallied and took their only lead of the second half with under a minute to play in the third. Danny Green buried one his seven 3-pointers on the night to make it 85-82. Green paced the Lakers with 28 points on 71.4% shooting from the field.
Green and Harrell combined on a 7-0 run for the Clippers in the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach.
The Clippers will be back in action on Thursday night in Golden State, while the Lakers stay put at Staples Center to host Utah on Friday night.