Clippers beat Lakers 103-97, Leonard scores 14 in return
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Kawhi Leonard had 14 points and seven rebounds in his first game in 16 months, and the Los Angeles Clippers opened a season of sky-high expectations with a 103-97 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday night.
Paul George scored 15 points and John Wall added 15 in his debut for the Clippers, who held on down the stretch to beat their more pedigreed Los Angeles rivals for the eighth consecutive time.
Leonard came off the bench for the first time since 2013 and played 21 minutes in his first game since he tore a ligament in his right knee in a playoff game in June 2021. The two-time NBA Finals MVP decided to ease back in a temporary reserve role after missing all of last season while recovering from surgery.
Anthony Davis scored 25 points despite apparently having reduced mobility after a mid-game fall, while LeBron James had 20 points and 10 rebounds in the 20th home opener of his career. Lonnie Walker scored 26 points.
The Lakers dropped to 0-2, but still rallied from two large deficits and kept it close into the final minute despite nightmare shooting performances from Russell Westbrook (0 for 11) and fellow point guards Patrick Beverley (1 for 7) and Kendrick Nunn (0 for 7) in their Lakers home debuts. The Lakers went 9 for 45 on 3-pointers overall.
BUCKS 90, 76ERS 88
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Wesley Matthews hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with 23.8 seconds left, and Giannis Antetokounmpo had 21 points and 13 rebounds to lead Milwaukee over Philadelphia.
Brook Lopez scored 17 points as the Bucks, who went 0-5 in the preseason, won their season opener after Matthews surprised the Sixers on the long 3. James Harden, who scored 31 and rallied the Sixers in the fourth, missed a jumper that could have won the game.
The 76ers lost their opener Tuesday night in Boston and had another weak defensive effort that had the Philly crowd booing them off the court in the third quarter.
Joel Embiid had 15 points and 12 rebounds. Tyrese Maxey added 15 points for the Sixers.