In a September 2017 interview with Mike Bresnahan of Spectrum SportsNet, Los Angeles Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball commented on the franchise’s rivalry with the Los Angeles Clippers:
“Gotta see who’s going to win L.A.,” Ball said. “Over the years the Clippers definitely stepped it up and now it’s even.”
Now its even? Not quite. The Clippers dominated the Lakers opening night at Staples Center, beating them 108-92. It wasn’t even close; at one point the Clippers led by 30. Here are the highlights and takeaways.
We’ve Got Full Squad
The Clippers were plagued by injuries in the preseason. Austin Rivers, Sam Dekker, Patrick Beverley, Danilo Gallinari and Sindarius Thornwell sat out multiple games due to ailments. All were back for Thursday’s regular season opener, however. No injuries were reported for the game.
No injuries to report for tonight's game - full squad.— LA Clippers (@LAClippers) October 19, 2017
This, of course, is very good for the Clippers, who need as much time as possible to play together before getting too deep into the season, to gel and test rotation chemistry.
Patrick Beverley is Savage AF
Anyone who is still pining away for Chris Paul, stop it. Just stop it. Patrick Beverley is the captain now, and frankly, he’s a savage. Beverley, who was named to the NBA All-Defensive First Team last season with the Houston Rockets, made mincemeat of Ball in the NBA newbie’s regular season debut. Beverley was on Ball like white on rice the entire time the two were on the floor together. He knocked him over, called him a bitch, and repeatedly screamed “1st Team!” while pointing a finger in the air, not-so-subtly indicating that he plans to earn All-Defensive First Team honors this season as well. In sum, there was a whole lot of disrespect going on, and fans LOVED it.
You knew Pat Beverley was coming for Lonzo. Here's how it looked for a full game:https://t.co/0zQ8oIJ34d— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 20, 2017
Ball finished the game with a disappointing 3 points and 4 assists, and was scoreless when matched up against Beverley. Better luck next time, Zo.
On the 29 plays that Patrick Beverley guarded Lonzo Ball, Ball went 0-for-2 from the floor and had three assist opportunities. pic.twitter.com/tgrFkK5Lv1— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 20, 2017
Austin Rivers: He’s Back, but not in the Starting Lineup
Rivers is back from injury, but appears to have lost his starting role in the Clippers’ lineup to Milos Teodosic.
Opening Night SQUAD:— LA Clippers (@LAClippers) October 20, 2017
1️⃣ » @patbev21
2️⃣ » @MilosTeodosic4
3️⃣ » @gallinari8888
4️⃣ » @blakegriffin32
5️⃣ » @DeAndre
» @NBAonTNT pic.twitter.com/MreDg7jQkO
Rivers looked rusty off the bench, scoring 2 points and contributing 2 assists in 26 minutes of play. Teodosic had 6 points and 6 assists in 21 minutes of play. Only time will tell if Doc keeps Teodosic in the starting line-up with Austin coming off the bench; he may switch things up again in the upcoming weeks.
Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan Look FANTASTIC
Forget the “big three”; Blake Griffin and DeAndreJordan are the dynamic duo! The pair combined for 43 points, 36 boards, 4 assists and 3 steals, and shot an impressive 51.5 percent from the field.
Griffin looked strong, and played without hesitation. This is a good indication that his health is solid and he is not experiencing any lingering effects of past injuries. Griffin led all scorers with 29 points in 33 minutes. He also contributed 12 rebounds and three assists.
Offensively, Griffin was spectacular. He had the spin moves...
BG gets us started with the & score on @NBAonTNT! pic.twitter.com/hMgr0InQ8a— LA Clippers (@LAClippers) October 20, 2017
and the posterizing dunks.
Yea, he still does this. #BlakeDoingBlakeThings pic.twitter.com/0AqXXFpIRR— LA Clippers (@LAClippers) October 20, 2017
Like Griffin, Jordan had a double-double. He scored 14 points and was a monster on the boards, snatching 24 rebounds in 31 minutes of play. His motivation? Rebuilding Houston.
This season, I'll be donating $100 per rebound to Help Rebuild my hometown of Houston from the… https://t.co/EDBd4nepQI— DeAndre Jordan (@DeAndre) October 20, 2017
Jordan also went 4-for-4 from the foul line, so can accurately be described at this point in time as a 100% foul shooter.
The Battle for Los Angeles has become Totally One-Sided
The Clippers have owned the Lakers in head-to-head match-ups, winning 19 of their last 21 contests since the start of the 2012-2013 season. In light of this fact, can we stop calling these games a “Battle for LA”? Seems like the battle has been over for quite some time. We own this town.
NEXT UP: Clippers take on the Phoenix Suns at Staples Center on Saturday, October 21, at 7:30 PM.