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Los Angeles Clippers

Clippers take early bragging rights in Los Angeles with opening night win over Lakers

#Kawhi
(NBA Getty Images)

The early bragging rights in Los Angeles go to the Clippers after they secured a 112-102 opening night win over the Los Angeles Lakers at STAPLES Center.

While it was a Clippers home game, it was a sea of purple and gold in the stands, with the Laker-heavy crowd showering Kawhi Leonard in boos, but the reigning Finals MVP got the last laugh.

Here are the biggest takeaways from the Clippers' 1-0 start

Kawhi Leonard looks right at home

Kawhi Leonard picked up right where he left off last season, scoring a game-high 30 points on 10-of-19 shooting as he put on a mid-range clinic in his first regular-season game in a Clipper uniform.

Leonard got off to a slow start, missing his first two shots and turning the ball over twice as the Lakers raced out to an early lead, before the reigning Finals MVP found his rhythm in the second quarter.

The Clippers outscored the Lakers 40-29 in the period to take a 62-54 lead into the half, with Leonard scoring 14 of his 20 first-half points in the quarter.

As usual, Leonard got it done on both ends, spending long stretches guarding LeBron James, who scored just 18 points on 7-of-19 shooting, adding nine rebounds, eight assists and five turnovers on the night.

Danny Green sparks Lakers third-quarter run

It was all Clippers through the first two and a half quarters of this contest until Danny Green caught fire.

Landry Shamet knocked down a 3-pointer to give the Clippers a 12-point lead - their biggest of the game - with just under four minutes remaining in the frame before the Lakers made their run.

It started with a vicious putback dunk from Anthony Davis but Danny Green carried the weight from there. Green had already scored seven points in the quarter before the run and his hot hand brought the Lakers back in the game.

He buried a 3-pointer, his third of the quarter, to cut the lead to seven. Next time down the floor, he knocked down another 3-ball to make it a four-point game.

The Lakers tied to game after buckets from Davis and Dwight Howard before Green converted his fifth 3-pointer of the frame to give the Lakers a three-point lead, their first lead of the contest since early in the second quarter.

The two-time NBA champion torched the Clippers for 18 points in the third quarter alone, shooting 6-for-6 from the field and 5-for-5 from beyond the arc.

The Lakers went into the fourth quarter tied at 85 thanks to Green's heroics.

He finished with 28 points on the night on 10-of-14 shooting and 7-of-9 from three, picking up a piece of Laker history along the way.

Clippers run deep

It might be a new season, but the Clippers bench stepping up is nothing new.

Kawhi Leonard was the team's leading scorer with 30 points, but his help did not come from the rest of the Clippers starters - it was the second unit.

Clippers starters not named Kawhi Leonard scored a total of 22 points. Their bench - who led the NBA in bench scoring last season - tallied 60 points, proving to be the difference-maker in outscoring the Lakers' second unit by 41 points.

The supersub dynamic duo of Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell picked up right where they left off last season. Williams went for 21 points and five assists while Harrell chipped in 17 points and seven boards.

Offseason acquisition Moe Harkless was awesome on both ends of the floor in this contest, scoring 10 points while providing valuable defence on the likes of LeBron James and Anthony Davis. JaMychael Green also stepped up with 12 points and six rebounds.

It was their second unit that made them such a pain to play last season and while Kawhi and Paul George give them the superstar power to make a title push this season, their depth is a main reason why they're considered by many as favourites to win the championship.

Tough night for Davis on debut

While he recorded 25 points, 10 rebounds and five assists in his regular-season debut for the Lakers, Anthony Davis was made to work by the physical Clippers defence.

He did the bulk of his damage around the rim, but struggled to get it going the further away he moved from the basket, going 1-of-9 outside the paint.

With the Lakers clawing their way back into the game down the stretch, the 26-year-old struggled to put his imprint on the game, going scoreless in the fourth quarter.

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