Lakers fall to Clippers in opener, a bitter finish to championship celebration

  • The Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard # 2 looks for some area throughout their NBA game versus the Lakers at the Staples Facility in Los Angeles, Tuesday, December 22, 2020. The Clippers defeated the Lakers 116-109. (Picture by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG).

  • The Lakers’ LeBron James # 23 dunks the ball as the Clippers’ Patrick Patterson # 54 views during their NBA game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Tuesday, December 22, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG).

  • The Lakers’ LeBron James # 23 dunks the round as the Clippers’ Patrick Patterson # 54 searches throughout their NBA game at the Staples Facility in Los Angeles, Tuesday, December 22, 2020. (Picture by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG).

  • The Clippers’ Serge Ibaka # 9 shoots a the Lakers’ Montrezl Harrell # 15 defends throughout their NBA video game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Tuesday, December 22, 2020. (Image by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG).

  • The Lakers’ Kentavious Caldwell-Pope # 1 dunks the ball during their NBA game versus the Clippers at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Tuesday, December 22, 2020. (Image by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG).

  • The Lakers’ Kentavious Caldwell-Pope # 1 dunks the sphere during their NBA game versus the Clippers at the Staples Facility in Los Angeles, Tuesday, December 22, 2020. (Picture by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG).

  • The Clippers’ Ivica Zubac # 40 dunks the ball as the Lakers’ Kyle Kuzma # 0 views on throughout their NBA video game at the Staples Facility in Los Angeles, Tuesday, December 22, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG).

  • The Lakers’ Kyle Kuzma # 0 shoots the round during their NBA video game against the Clippers at the Staples Facility in Los Angeles, Tuesday, December 22, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG).

  • The Lakers’ Anthony Davis # 3 shoots as the Clippers’ Ivica Zubac # 40 defends during their NBA game at the Staples Facility in Los Angeles, Tuesday, December 22, 2020. (Picture by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG).

  • The Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard # 2 is fouled by the Lakers’ Marc Gasol # 14 throughout their NBA video game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Tuesday, December 22, 2020. (Image by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG).

  • The Lakers’ Kyle Kuzma # 0 lays the ball up during their NBA game versus the Clippers at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Tuesday, December 22, 2020. (Picture by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG).

  • The Clippers’ Serge Ibaka # 9 shoots as the Lakers’ Marc Gasol # 14 protects during their NBA video game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Tuesday, December 22, 2020. (Picture by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG).

  • The Lakers’ Dennis Schroder # 17 lays the round up as the Clippers’ Luke Kennard # 5 safeguards during their NBA game at the Staples Facility in Los Angeles, Tuesday, December 22, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG).

  • The Lakers’ Montrezl Harrell # 15 goes to the hoop throughout their NBA game versus the Clippers at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Tuesday, December 22, 2020. (Picture by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG).

  • The Lakers’ Kyle Kuzma # 0 shoots throughout their NBA game against the Clippers at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Tuesday, December 22, 2020. (Image by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG).

  • The Lakers’ LeBron James # 23 lays the ball up as the Clippers’ Serge Ibaka # 9 defends during their NBA video game at the Staples Facility in Los Angeles, Tuesday, December 22, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG).

  • The Lakers’ LeBron James # 23 mosts likely to the hoop as the Clippers’ Ivica Zubac # 40 protects during their NBA video game at the Staples Facility in Los Angeles, Tuesday, December 22, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG).

  • The Lakers’ Kyle Kuzma # 0 shoots as the Clippers’ Ivica Zubac # 40 safeguards throughout their NBA game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Tuesday, December 22, 2020. (Image by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG).

  • The Lakers’ LeBron James # 23 moves the ball up court throughout their NBA game versus the Clippers at the Staples Facility in Los Angeles, Tuesday, December 22, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG).

  • The Clippers’ Paul George passes the round as the Lakers’ Kyle Kuzma defends throughout their season opener on Tuesday night at Staples Center. George racked up 26 of his game-high 33 points in the Clippers’ 116-109 success. (Picture by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG).

  • The Lakers’ Montrezl Harrell # 15 blocks the shot of the Clippers’ Patrick Beverley # 21 during their NBA game at the Staples Facility in Los Angeles, Tuesday, December 22, 2020. The Clippers beat the Lakers 116-109. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG).

  • The Clippers’ Serge Ibaka # 9 fires as Lakers’ Anthony Davis # 3 and Kyle Kuzma # 0 safeguard during their NBA video game at the Staples Facility in Los Angeles, Tuesday, December 22, 2020. The Clippers beat the Lakers 116-109. (Picture by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG).

  • The Clippers’ Paul George # 13 shoots as the Lakers’ Kyle Kuzma # 0 defends throughout their NBA game at the Staples Facility in Los Angeles, Tuesday, December 22, 2020. The Clippers beat the Lakers 116-109. (Image by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG).

  • The Lakers’ Anthony Davis # 3 falls to the court as the Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard # 2 seeks to fire throughout their NBA game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Tuesday, December 22, 2020. The Clippers beat the Lakers 116-109. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG).

  • The Clippers’ Paul George # 13 fires as the Lakers’ Kyle Kuzma # 0 defends throughout their NBA game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Tuesday, December 22, 2020. The Clippers defeated the Lakers 116-109. (Image by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG).

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LOS ANGELES– As long as the Lakers finish this season like they did the last one, Tuesday’s period opener will fade right into the history.

But the title defense really did not begin on the right foot, strangely evocative last period’s beginning as the Lakers lost a 116-109 contest to the Clippers at Staples Center, putting a bitter surface on the night they celebrated the champion they won in October.

LeBron James as well as Anthony Davis integrated to rack up 40 points, however they were mostly absent in the late phases of the game as the Clippers’ lead expanded in the 4th quarter. Davis looked into at the 3:37 mark when the lead was 16. James never ever checked back in after the 7:51 mark. Both combined for just 59 minutes.

” We’re gon na be conventional with their mins at an early stage in the season,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel stated. “We have the depth to do it.”

The Lakers’ stars discovered some ground, however the team exercised care first, drawing them both from the game late in the 4th when a comeback was unlikely yet not impossible. New point player Dennis Schröder provided a shot of life for the Lakers’ crime in moments when it lulled, scoring 14 points and also adding 8 helps. Montrezl Harrell, that last played for the Clippers, included 17 factors and 10 rebounds, while Kyle Kuzma fresh off a brand-new contract expansion, scored 15.

The defense that was so strong for the Lakers throughout their postseason run in the Orlando bubble could be a challenge to rebuild. They were felled by a second-half barrage from Paul George, that racked up 26 of his 33 factors after halftime. Kawhi Leonard (26 factors) added in the 4th quarter with his trademark turnaround jumpers that aided put the video game just out of reach.

” He just had a great evening, with a whole lot of one-on-one situations,” Vogel claimed of George.

There’s little the Clippers can do to water down the memory of their second-round playoff burning last season, especially on a night when the Lakers spent a half-hour commemorating their title with a pregame ring event on the court they share. Just a few Clippers, including Marcus Morris (the double to Lakers’ forward Markieff) ventured out from the passage to watch the process.

But like last season, a season-opening win over their intra-city opponents seemed like an action in the right instructions– even though there will certainly be fewer observers attempting to divine playoff effects over the routine season’s initial outcome

The Lakers started with the seriousness of champs still basking in the afterglow of their ring ceremony. The Clippers gave them a disrespectful awakening, striking 14 of their first 20 shots versus half-hearted or non-existent competitions. The Lakers were coming off a 72-day turn-around, the shortest in NBA history, however they still signed up at preseason speed.

That got in the second quarter with a bench stint, as Harrell and preseason beloved Talen Horton-Tucker (six factors) brought an energy that the beginning team had actually done not have. A 22-point Clippers lead was trimmed to 2 by halftime, as well as James, specifically, discovered a groove racking up 8 points in the duration.

The older participants of the Lakers’ offseason acquisitions were especially harsh: Neither Marc Gasol neither Wesley Matthews racked up in their 23 combined minutes. Gasol was mired in foul problem, while Matthews ended up with just a single swipe.

One of the guiding principles of the Lakers’ very early going has actually been preventing injuries. There was a fourth-quarter scare when Kentavious Caldwell-Pope dropped ordering at his left calf bone, however he strolled off the evident small injury as well as was playing once more complying with a timeout. However the Lakers are most likely to be cautious concerning such soft-tissue disorders, acknowledging that numerous gamers aren’t at the conditioning degree they would certainly like after such a brief offseason.

More to come on this story.

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