Los Angeles, Oct 23 (IANS) Kawhi Leonard picked up where he left off last season, pouring in 30 points to lead the Los Angeles Clippers to a 112-102 win over the Los Angeles Lakers on opening night of the NBA new season at STAPLES Center here on Tuesday night.
Leonard got off to a slow start, missing his first two shots and turning the ball over twice as the Lakers raced out to an early lead, before the reigning Finals MVP found his rhythm in the second quarter.
The Clippers outscored the Lakers 40-29 in the period to take a 62-54 lead into the half, with Leonard scoring 14 of his 20 first-half points in the quarter.
As usual, Leonard got it done on both ends, spending long stretches guarding LeBron James, who scored just 18 points on 7-of-19 shooting, adding nine rebounds, eight assists and five turnovers on the night.
It was all Clippers through the first two and a half quarters of this contest until Danny Green caught fire.
The Lakers tied to game after buckets from Davis and Dwight Howard before Green converted his fifth 3-pointer of the frame to give the Lakers a three-point lead, their first lead of the contest since early in the second quarter.
The Lakers went into the fourth quarter tied at 85 thanks to Green’s heroics.
He finished with 28 points on the night on 10-of-14 shooting and 7-of-9 from three, picking up a piece of Laker history along the way.
Meanwhile, after a historic ring ceremony and unveiling of the championship banner, the Raptors overcame some early jitters and dug out of a hole to beat the New Orleans Pelicans in overtime to start the season with a win.