LOS ANGELES—The Los Angeles Lakers won their season opener against the Houston Rockets 114-120, on Wednesday, October 26.
The game marked the start of the first season in 20 years without perennial all-star Kobe Bryant on the Lakers roster. First year Head Coach Luke Walton elected to start Nick Young beside D’Angelo Russell and Luol Deng, with Julius Randle and Timofey Mozgov starting in the Lakers front-court.
Walton was focused to start the game, making his coaching debut after winning two championships with the Lakers in 2008-2009.
“There’s definitely nerves and excitement right now, but mostly there’s no time to think about how incredible this is, and the opportunity,” said Walton. “It’s more focused on watching film and getting the prep work in for tonight’s game.”
Jordan Clarkson led the Lakers while coming off of the bench, scoring 25 points in 25 minutes of play and leading the Lakers to a win in the final minutes of action. D’Angelo Russell scored 20 points, and Julius Randle finished the game with 18 points, 6 assists and 7 rebounds.
James Harden started as point guard for the Rockets under new Head Coach Mike D’Antoni. Harden led the Rockets with 34 points, 17 assists and 8 rebounds. Eric Gordon scored 19 points and tallied 5 rebounds in his first game with Houston.
Luke Walton is now 1-0, as the youngest head coach in the NBA. The Lakers will begin a four game road trip next, traveling to Salt Lake City to play the Utah Jazz on Friday, October 28.