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LA Lakers 25 29 31 17 102
LA Clippers 22 40 23 27 112
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7:30 PM PT8:30 PM MT9:30 PM CT10:30 PM ET2:30 GMT10:30 7:30 PM MST9:30 PM EST6:30 UAE (+1)04:3022:30 ET9:30 PM CT1:30 , October 22, 2019
Staples Center, Los Angeles, California  Attendance: 19,068

Lakers, Clippers clash in explosive season opener

According to STATS
According to STATS

Los Angeles Lakers at Los Angeles Clippers

  1. The Lakers and Clippers split four games last season but the Clips have won 23 of the last 28 meetings. Both teams have scored at least 100 points in each of the last seven meetings, with both scoring at least 105 in all four games last season.
  2. The Clippers finished second in the Pacific Division last season, making the playoffs for the seventh time in the last eight seasons. Prior to 2011-12, the franchise had made the postseason a total of seven times in 41 seasons.
  3. The Lakers finished with a 37-45 record in 2018-19, their sixth consecutive losing season. Prior to 2013-14, the franchise had a total of 12 losing campaigns in 65 seasons.
  4. The Clippers ranked second in the NBA in three-point percentage last season at 38.8 percent, trailing only the Spurs (39.2). The Lakers ranked second-to-last, shooting just 33.3 percent from deep in 2018-19, ahead of the Suns (32.9).
  5. Five active players in the NBA have career averages of at least 23.0 points and 7.0 rebounds. The Lakers have two of them in LeBron James (27.2 ppg/7.4 rpg) and Anthony Davis (23.7 ppg/10.5 rpg). The others are Kevin Durant, Joel Embiid and Russell Westbrook.
  6. New Clipper Kawhi Leonard won the NBA Finals MVP, taking Toronto to the title on the back of his 30.5 postseason points per game. Leonard averaged a career-high 26.6 points during the regular season and posted a 54.6 effective field-goal percentage, his highest since 2015-16 (56.5).
(AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

A matchup of potential NBA title contenders tips off Tuesday night when the Los Angeles Clippers host the Los Angeles Lakers in a season-opening clash.

The two teams, who made some of the league's most significant changes this offseason, play the first of four regular-season meetings.

The Clippers added Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, who led the Toronto Raptors to their first championship, and All-Star forward Paul George, acquired in a trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder, to bolster an already loaded roster. The results leave the Clippers among the favorites to capture their first NBA crown.

"We still have to find a rhythm with each other playing together, but I think we're going to do well," Leonard said. "That's my mindset on it. Come out and win ballgames."

The Clippers will play Tuesday without George, who is recovering from offseason shoulder surgeries and is not expected to return until November. However, they should have more than enough firepower to compensate for George's absence with guards Patrick Beverley, Lou Williams and Landry Shamet and center Montrezl Harrell returning. Those four were among the key contributors to the Clippers' playoff appearance last season before the Golden State Warriors eliminated them in the opening round.

The Lakers also expect to contend with the addition of All-Star center/forward Anthony Davis via an offseason trade with the New Orleans Pelicans. Davis joins a team that features LeBron James, Kyle Kuzma and a retooled roster.

The addition of Davis, a six-time All-Star, is expected to boost the team's fortunes after the Lakers finished a disappointing 37-45 and failed to qualify for the postseason for the sixth season in a row. Health will be the foremost concern for Davis, who averaged 25.9 points, 12.0 rebounds and 3.9 assists in 56 starts last season with the Pelicans.

Staying healthy will also be crucial for James. He missed a career-high 27 games last season with a groin injury. Still, the 34-year-old superstar averaged 27.4 points, 8.5 rebounds and 8.3 assists per game.

"Opening night is great. For me, it's like the first day of school," James said. "I mean, I love to play the game and I obviously had the longest layoff of my career, so to be where I'm at physically (and) mentally no matter who we open up against ... Tuesday (will be) a great day."

Kuzma won't play in the season opener. The third-year pro, who averaged 18.7 points and 5.5 rebounds last season and is considered pivotal in the Lakers' success, has been sidelined for the entire preseason with a stress reaction in his left foot. His return date is unknown.

Both clubs believe they will be improved by additional newcomers. Guard Danny Green, who contributed to the Raptors' title run with Leonard, and Quinn Cook will be relied upon to boost the Lakers' 3-point shooting. Green and guard Avery Bradley are also expected to deliver a stronger presence on perimeter defense.

Eight-time All-Star center Dwight Howard, limited to nine games because of injuries last season with the Washington Wizards, is expected to contribute off the Lakers' bench.

The Clippers also added to their reserve unit, picking up forwards Maurice Harkless and Patrick Patterson.

--Field Level Media

Updated October 22, 2019

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