No Chris Paul? No problem. The LA Clippers handled the young Los Angeles Lakers squad with ease. Behind Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, the Clippers by 16 points, winning 108-92.
Ball struggles in opener
The big matchup heading into this first meeting of the season was Patrick Beverly versus Lonzo Ball. How would the rookie fare against one of the premier defenders in the league? Beverly won this round and it was not even close. According to ESPN, on 29 possessions, the 29-year-old held Ball to zero points and zero assists.
Overall, the UCLA product had a quiet night in his NBA debut, much like in the NBA Summer League. Ball finished the night with only three points and four assists.
Head coach Luke Walton, though, was not too pleased with the product that was on display for the home fans. “I wasn’t happy with what we gave our fans tonight. The crowd was ready to get going and we had a couple of runs where they got loud, but we couldn’t maintain it because we weren’t making shots.”
Walton will have to get his side playing attractive basketball and accrue as many wins as these young guys can muster. That will be a theme all season, especially with an important summer on the horizon.
The new Clippers man, Patrick Beverly, is going to add a bonus defense presence that they have not had in quite some time. One play from this opening game stands out in particular. In the second quarter, Beverly scored easily at the rim. Then, second later, he was down at the other side
Milos Teodosic, the other rookie NBA point guard, had a slightly better night for the mostly new look Clippers. The Serbian ended the night with only six points. It will take some time for Teodosic to adapt the rigors of the NBA, but he looks like he has the potential to do big things in this league.
Clippers duo dominates
Two things remained the same for the LA Clippers to start the year: Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. The veteran duo led the way for the Clippers, with the pair both obtaining double-doubles.
For Griffin, he was the force that drove the offense forward. He led everyone in points tonight, coming away with 29 of them, on 12-23 shooting, while bringing in 12 rebounds. Jordan dominated the glass, hauling in 24 rebounds, double the next closest in that category. Those 24 rebounds, also from ESPN, were the second most since the two leagues merged in 1976-77.
Luke Walton and the Lakers will have to forget about the loss to their rivals quickly. They take on the Phoenix Suns tomorrow night in Phoenix, at 10:00 PM EST.
Meanwhile, the Clippers will take on the same Suns on Saturday night at the Staples Center.