Philippine Daily Inquirer


- —AP

LOS ANGELES—KAWHI Leonard hit seven straight shots in o nes tretch, creati nga r unf or the Clippers that his new teammates quickly joined.

“It ’ sag reat sign of leadership,” coach Do cr iver s sa id. “He talks wit hh is game.”

Leonard began a new career chapte ro n Tuesd ayn ight, scori ng 30 p oints to go wit ha strong bench effort in a 112-102 victory over Lebron James and the Lakers in the teams’ season opener.

Leonard chose the Clippers because he wante d to come home and his family was on hand.

“All those emotions went through me again,” he said.

Lo uw illiams added 21 point s an d Montrezl Harrell had 17 off the bench when the Clippers began their 50th season overall and 36th i nl os Angeles as the once unlikely but now favorites to win t hef ranchise’s first NBA championsh­ip.

“It’s one of 82 [games],” River ssa id. “Next question.”

Leonard wo nh is second NBA title last season i nt oronto.

The Laker s sh owe do ff their new 1-2 punch of James and Anthony Davis. Davis scored 25p oints, maki ng9 o f 14 free throws, and James had 18.

“For us, we’r eb oth aggressive,” Davi s sa id . “S ometimes wek in do fm iss each other .I missed hi mac ouple times and hem issed me, so jus ttr ying to figure ito ut.”

Danny Green outscored them bot hw it h 28 p oints, including seven three-pointers, in t he h ighest-scoring debut by a Lake ri nf ranchi seh istory.

Leonard got it do new ithout hi s pe rsonal recruit Paul George, sideline di ndefinitel­y while rehabbi ngf ro mapa irof offseaso nsh oulder surgeries.

“It’s jus tt hef irst game of the seaso n,s oit ’sg oing tot ake the seaso n an d mistakes and success to get us on the same page,” Leonard said.

In T oronto, the Raptors slippe do n sh iny new rings, unfurled a championsh­ip banner, then g ot t heir title defense started wit h a ha rd-fought victory.

Fred Vanvleet scored a career-hi gh 34 p oints, Pascal Siakam foule do ut wit h 34 point s an d 18 rebounds, and the defending champion Raptors bea tt he New Orleans Pelicans, 130-122, in overtime in the season-opening game.

“Pascal and Freddy, they are t he y oung core, they are the guys who will carry this thing on,” Raptors guard Kyle Lowr ysa id. “I’m so happy for those guys to g oo ut and perfor ml ike tonight. We’ll see them grow all year.”

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