The 2019-20 NBA season finally got underway with two highly anticipated matchups and both games delivered. Last year’s NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard led his new team, the Los Angeles Clippers to a 112-102 win over the rival Los Angeles Lakers. Leonard’s old team, Toronto, went to overtime to beat New Orleans 130-122.
Leonard started slowly missing his first two shots and committing two turnovers before a first-half hot streak of seven consecutive made baskets. He would end the game with 30 points as well as six rebounds, five assists, a pair of steals, and even a blocked shot.
No other Clippers’ starter reached double figures. Lou Williams came off the bench and scored 21 and Montrezl Harrell added 17 points and seven rebounds.
The game also featured the debut of LeBron James and Anthony Davis for the Lakers. Both were overshadowed by the performance of guard Danny Green who hit 10-of-14 shots, including 7-of-9 from 3-point range for a team-high 28 points. Davis scored 25 points and had 10 rebounds. James added 18 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists.
In the other opening night game, the Toronto Raptors received their championship rings in a pre-game ceremony and then got a career-high 34 points from guard Fred VanVleet in an overtime win over New Orleans. Last year’s NBA Most Improved Player Pascal Siakam also scored 34 points and grabbed 18 rebounds before fouling out.
The Pelicans played without No. 1 pick Zion Williamson who will be out for six to eight weeks after undergoing knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus. Brandon Ingram led New Orleans with 22 points. The difference in the game was likely the 19 turnovers committed by New Orleans. The Raptors turned those turnovers into 22 points.