Storylines

Los Angeles Lakers

The Lakers needed to start their campaign with a statement win against their top competitors in the West. Everyone was talking about the Clippers and how they had a chance, the Lakers needed to take care of business and they did.

Takeaways

Lebron’s Defense vs Offense

Two completely different stories here, Lebron went 6-19 from the field and overall has struggled against the Clippers. He is a 36.7% shooter from the field when he is playing the Clippers. On the other side of the ball, Lebron was just flat out amazing. Kawhi only shot up two shots in the fourth quarter and a large part of that was Lebron playing spectacular defense. If we can see this Lebron, the one who plays on these big stars and takes them on. The Lakers have all of the sudden taken a huge step towards a championship. We haven’t seen this Lebron since Cleveland and could be huge in games like this. In the end of the day, Lebron took care of business, missing the first attempt he grabbed the rebound and put it in. On the defensive side, he grabbed Kawhi on one and forced him to give it to PG. After that, he forced Paul to take a contested 3 which ultimately didn’t fall. 

Can Kuzma and AD provide enough support of Lebron 

Lebron James is the undoubted star in L.A and is the face of the franchise for the foreseeable future, but if the Lakers want to be successful they will need the players around James to step up. In the game against the Clippers, Anthony Davis stepped up for a struggling James and posted 34 points. While AD is a well known superstar the Lakers also need role players to play huge roles in games where James isn’t posting triple-doubles or scoring 30. Against the Clippers we saw Kyle Kuzma post 16 points on 4-7 from three. This is the production that the Lakers need from their role players, to take some of the load off the two superstars carrying their offense. 

Up Next

Lakers vs Raptors

The Lakers play against the Raptors tonight. We will have to wait and see how they perform on their first back to back in a while. Another thing to watch is Dion Waiters, the Lakers outscored the Clippers by 17 when Dion was on the court. Tomorrow will really tell us if Waiters is going to be big.

Los Angeles Clippers

Losing the first game in Orlando wasn’t the plan for the Clippers, but there are still some positive takeaways from their matchup against the Lakers. Without Lou Williams or Montrezl Harrell, the Clips were already short on bench players. There was a major lack of defense and rebounding down the stretch, and the King took advantage of it.

Takeaways

Kawhi’s scrimmage shooting woes are now non-existent

Coming into this game, Clippers fans were wondering if Kawhi was going to shoot poorly as he did in the scrimmages. Shooting 27% from the field, you could tell Kawhi just wasn’t himself. But, in the Battle of L.A., he came back to normal. Going 3-4 from 3-point range, and 7-16 overall, Leonard scored 28 points, and didn’t let his team down. 

Other than the first quarter, the offense was solid

It was exciting seeing the Clippers on offense, they were consistent and made good shots. Going on a 26-5 run helped them take an 11 point lead after half, but the Lakers soon caught up. As a team, Los Angeles shot 43.2% from the field, and made 16 3-pointers on 36 attempts.The PG-13 and Kawhi-duo combined for 58 points, and gave a good glimpse at what people should be expecting from this team.  If we can see this type of offense throughout the rest of the season, more and more people will start to believe in the Clippers chances to win a title. 

Up Next

After a tough loss to the Lakers, the Clippers will be playing a young Pelicans team that should provide a good challenge for a rusty Clippers team. This game should be an easy win for the Clippers, that will also provide them an opportunity to knock off the rust that was visible during the game against the Lakers. 

Score: LAC 103, LAL 105

Utah Jazz

The NBA has started and the Utah Jazz is starting off the season. With a battle for seeding so important to the Jazz’s success in the playoff, we will be seeing a competitive team that wants to win every game. With their first game of the new season coming against a young Pelicans team, the Jazz are expected to start off the season with a BANG and show everyone they are playoff contenders. 

Takeaways

Mitchell and Gobert are playing well together

In the aftermath of the NBA shutdown and Covid-19 outbreak, all eyes were on Rudy Gobert. After being the first player to test positive for the virus, and seen the day before acting like the virus was a joke got a lot of backlash from the NBA community. Everyone could also tell the tension between Gobert and Donavon Mitchell, after Mitchell tested positive for the virus. As the NBA restarted, there was much speculation on whether the relationship between Gobert and Mitchell would ever be the same. The first game of the NBA season seems to contradict this theory, as Gobert and Mitchell both took the floor together. Both players seem to have put their differences aside, and are focusing on winning a championship instead of their off the court issues. 

Role players are stepping up

The Utah Jazz have two stars in Mitchell and Gobert, but everyone knows that a team also needs their role players to step up. The Jazz had decent performances from their stars with Mitchell dropping 20 and Gobert posting 14, but the real reason that they were able to compete and win against a talented Pelicans team was their supporting cast. Jordan Clarkson came off the bench and was able to add a team leading 23 points, while the rest of the starting lineup also scored in double digits. The Jazz need their stars to start performing on a high level, but if their supporting cast can keep up this performance then have a chance at a deep playoff run. 

Up Next

The Jazz will be playing against a fellow playoff contender, and will see how they stack up against their competitors in the bubble. In the bubble the every game matters, and the Jazz will be trying to climb up the seeding while fending off teams below such as the Thunder. 

New Orleans Pelicans

Takeaways

The New Orleans Pelicans became one of the most hyped teams in the NBA after they drafted Zion Williamson. The Pelicans have one of the most talented, yet, youngest teams in the NBA, and are looking for much needed playoff experience in the bubble. With all eyes on Zion and the Pels, expect them to make a push for the playoffs, even though they are at 11th. 

Zion is a beast 

Zion Williamson was limited to three minute bursts throughout the game and ended up playing 15 minutes, due to health concerns relating to limited training time in the bubble. This is 12-15 minutes less than the rest of the starting lineup, and Zion was still able to post 13 points. Zion was posting one point per minute, which is extremely efficient against a playoff team such as the Jazz. Once the Pels start playing Zion as a full starter, they should be getting an extremely efficient beast who can dominate on the offensive and defensive side. 

The Pelicans have good veterans on a young team 

One of the biggest things about being a young team is the inexperience that comes with playing a limited number of NBA games. With the huge amount of young players that are on the Pels roster, it was important for the team to have a good group of vets to lead their young players. Two of the Pels vets, Jrue Holiday and JJ Reddick, both have provided great leadership for the Pels young core, but have also shown that they can still ball. In a close game against the Jazz, both Holiday and Reddick posted 20 plus points, which is second and third highest on the team. 

Up Next 

If the Pels want to make the playoffs they will need to start winning their games, and a game against the Clippers will show how they will fare against the rest of their schedule.

Score: NOP 104, UTA 106

Top Photo: NBA.com

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