The Battle for Los Angeles took center stage on Tuesday night when the L.A. Clippers and Lakers faced off. Kawhi Leonard, LeBron James, and Anthony Davis did not disappoint, much to the delight of an electric Staples Center crowd.
Kawhi Leonard led the way for the Clippers with 30 points, six rebounds, five assists, two steals, and one block in 31 minutes of action. For the Lakers, Anthony Davis notched 25 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, one steal, and two blocks in 37 minutes. LeBron James added 18 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists in 36 minutes.
— NBA (@NBA) October 23, 2019
We won’t hit the panic button on the Lakers after Tuesday night. Davis is a legitimate MVP candidate and an absolute interior force, especially against an undersized Clippers squad. His length will wreak havoc defensively. He’ll punish anyone in his path. Davis appears off the dribble, a step that elevates his offensive ceiling. Expect better shooting efficiency moving forward, despite his 25 points in the loss. LeBron will also shoot better than his 7-of-19 mark. He looked engaged from the opening tip, especially on the defensive end. It’s an encouraging sign for the purple and gold.
While both teams are far from a finished product, the Clippers and the Lakers put on quite a show in the first installation of the renewed battle for Los Angeles. After a lot of lean years with the Clippers in the 90s and 2000s, and some mediocre Lakers squads in recent years, Angelenos now get to watch two of the league’s top title contenders on a nightly basis.
Round two of this newly formed rivalry will be on Christmas day.