ORLANDO, FL—With the battle for Los Angeles taking place at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, the Los Angeles Lakers held off the Clippers’ in a one-possession matchup on Thursday, July, 30, that saw LeBron James will the purple and gold to a 103-101 victory.
After missing a shot from the elbow and tracking down his rebound, James gave the Lakers the go-ahead basket with 12 seconds remaining. The 6 foot and 9 inch tall forward came up huge the following possession, playing tight defense on Paul George and forcing the Clipper guard to miss on the game-winning-three.
Despite James’ late-game heroics, it was the productive all-around play from Anthony Davis that lifted the Lakers over their cross-town rivals. Davis, recorded 34 points while shooting 50 percent from the field on the night and going 16-17 from the free-throw line. James had a stat line consisting of 16 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists while going 6-19 shooting from the field.
Kyle Kuzma proved to be a spark off the Laker bench by contributing 16 points and playing commendable defense.
The Lakers held the advantage for the majority of the contest, but a poor shooting third quarter allowed the Clippers to take a 66-55 lead. The Lakers would storm back and reclaim the lead in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter.
The duo of George and Kawhi Leonard did all they could towards the end of the matchup to help their squad to take the lead. Down 91-80 with less than eight minutes in the fourth quarter, the Clipper’s wings combined for 16 points during the final frame to knot the game up at 101 apiece, despite the losing efforts.
George led the Clippers with 30 points, mainly coming from behind the arc as he shot an exceptional 6-11 from the three-point line. Leonard had 28 points on the night, shooting 7-16 from the field while going 3-4 from the three-point line.
The Clippers bench felt the absence of their top-two contributors in Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrel. Williams was required to quarantine for 10-days after leaving the NBA bubble and being seen at a strip-club after getting approval to leave the complex. Harrel has been absent from the bubble since July 17 to tend to an excused family emergency, Yahoo Sports reported.
It was the first day of games for the NBA since the league suspended their season on March 11, due to concerns over the coronavirus.