On a night where the Los Angeles Lakers were supposed to be celebrated, the LA Clippers emerged as the real victors. For the second consecutive season, the Clippers won the Opening Night Championship Game over the Lakers.
If you’ve never heard of the Opening Night Championship, don’t worry: It’s probably because you’re a Lakers fan. You see, the Opening Night Championship was invented last season specifically for the Clippers, who haven’t won a single actual NBA championship in their 42-year history.
The Clippers had hoped to raise their first banner at Staples Center in 2020, but they blew a 3-1 lead to the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals. So, instead of celebrating an actual championship, like the Lakers did on Tuesday night, they just had to think back to their Opening Night Championship from last season, a 112-102 win over the Lakers on Oct. 22. On Tuesday, they were determined to defend their title.
Paul George was on fire in his first game of the regular season, scoring 33 points on 13-18 shooting from the field and 2-5 shooting from behind the arc. He also contributed 6 rebounds and 3 assists. If you’re wondering why Playoff P didn’t show up in the Western Conference Finals, it’s because he was saving Regular Season P for the real contest: the Opening Night Championship.
Kawhi Leonard was also locked in, tallying 26 points. 2 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals. The Lakers had no answer for either of the Clippers stars, which was expected given how small they started in the back court, but they deserve their flowers regardless. So congratulations to the Clippers organization on another well-deserved title. Hopefully the Lakers can respond next season.
The Lakers will host the Dallas Mavericks in their next game on Friday, Christmas Day, at 5:00 p.m. PT.