NBA: LA Lakers defeated by LA Clippers, Brooklyn Nets beat Golden State Warriors

NBA champions the Los Angeles Lakers were beaten 116-109 by the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday’s opening night of the new season.

The Clippers’ Paul George scored 26 of his 33 points in the second half while Kawhi Leonard added 26 of his own.

It is the second successive year the Clippers have defeated the Lakers in their season opener.

Elsewhere, Kevin Durant scored 22 on his Brooklyn Nets debut as they beat the Golden State Warriors 125-99.

Two-time NBA champion Durant joined the Nets on a four-year $164m deal in the summer of 2019 – after leaving the Warriors – but missed last season with an Achilles tendon injury.

When asked about the 10-time NBA All-Star’s return to the court, Nets coach Steve Nash said: “It’s a big, big difference in taking 18 months away from the NBA and coming back into the NBA with everything he’s gone through.

“He looks like Kevin, he plays like Kevin, but I don’t want to start making expectations of him until he gets going and gets some games and some rhythm under his belt and adapts to playing three in four nights and playing almost every other night for a stretch.

“That’s the next step for him. We’ve got to just take it day-by-day with him.”

Stephen Curry posted a double-double for the Warriors with 20 points and 10 assists but they never looked like troubling the Nets, who, on Nash’s coaching debut, ended a seven-game losing streak in season openers with Kyrie Irving top scoring with 26.

The Lakers were presented with their NBA Championship rings before the game, which featured a mamba snake behind players’ numbers to honour former player Kobe Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash in January.

The top of the ring is also detachable, revealing retired Lakers’ jerseys – with Bryant’s number eight and 24 jerseys highlighted in purple.

The Lakers couldn’t cap off ring night with victory though, never leading against the Clippers who had at most a 22-point advantage in the first quarter.

LeBron James top-scored for the hosts at an empty Staples Centre, with 22 points.

In what was Tyronn Lue’s first league game as Clippers’ head coach, George and Leonard became only the third pair of Clippers’ team-mates – and the first since 2016 – to score 25 or more points in a season opener.

bbc. com

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