RICHMOND- It was the day the Los Angeles Laker fanbase and the media fawned on each other and believed the rival Los Angeles Clippers would not take them down.
FS1’s Shannon Sharpe proudly proclaimed a parade where he and Lebron James would ride the float and cruise to victory. However, a game was yet to be played and some mouths were silenced.
A Los Angeles team did win 112-102. But it was not the team in purple and gold. The team in blue sent a message to every Laker fan who proudly boasted after the pre-season that the NBA was to be put on notice.
Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard was greeted with boos from Laker fans after he chose not to sign with the Lakers in the offseason.
This came after his victory in the 2019 NBA Finals as a member of the Toronto Raptors. Leonard told Yahoo Sports writer Chris Haynes, it didn’t bother him too much.
“I just heard loud noise, so I was trying to be as loud as I could,” Leonard said. “I wasn’t sure if Clipper fans were being loud or the Laker fans. I didn’t pay attention to it too much. I was just trying to let the fans know the appreciation we have for them coming out tonight.”
It didn’t matter. Leonard continued to show why he is in the discussion for the best player in the NBA with a resounding performance, scoring a game-high 30 points and adding six rebounds, five assists, and two steals to guide his team past their in-state and building rival.
But the fun did not stop with just Leonard. The Lakers debuted the duo of James and forward Anthony Davis. The Lakers acquired Davis via trade for a slew of players and draft picks.
The Clippers will soon have their own duo once Paul George returns from his injury. Last night, however, showed that this Clippers team is still going to be very good, and will only receive positive vibes once George is added into the lineup.
Davis registered 25 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and two blocks in his Lakers debut. Lebron meanwhile, scored 18 points, 9 rebounds, 8 assists and a block that sent networks in hysteria.
One player who refused to fall for the love affair is Clippers guard Patrick Beverly. Beverly was seen in the locker room calling out the media for being non-objective.
The defensive specialist sat by himself and didn’t mince words about how TV programs, (ESPN and FS1), and commentators (Max Kellerman, Sharpe, Nick Wright, etc.) continue to ignore objectivity, and instead, show highlights of James in defeats, choosing to ignore and give no credit to the depth of the opponent that won.
Beverly even challenged the media to report facts instead of showing crossover highlights of one of the game’s greatest players.
After the first quarter, the Lakers led by three and looked very comfortable with their style of play. But a game does not end in the first quarter.
The Clippers proceeded to outscore the Lakers in each of the remaining three quarters which led to their 10 point victory. Clippers head coach Doc Rivers told ESPN about how the Clippers fan support helped them down the road.
“Their (Lakers) fans were very loud early and I thought our fans took over from that point on,” Rivers said. “It’s great for the city.”
The Clippers’ bench outscored the Lakers’ bench, 60-19. Last season, Clippers guard Lou Williams and forward Montrezl Harrell was the NBA’s highest-scoring reserve duo. On opening, both picked up right where they left off.
James’s energy seemed to be lethargic down the stretch. It was visibly shown as there was no sign of aggression from James in the 4th quarter.
In the past, the aggression was a constant sight. Age and attrition could be a factor, but there may be an issue that is not yet released.
When asked about being nervous, Davis had a simple response.
“It’s one game,” Davis told Yahoo Sports. “We’ll get better.”
The Clippers now take on the five-time western conference champion Golden State Warriors in their next game on the road at the new Chase Center, while the Lakers welcome the Utah Jazz at home.
NBA Basketball is back in action and it tipped off with a swish.