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NBA Opening Night recap: Clippers take down Lakers, ruin ring ceremony

It wasn’t a long wait but it seemed like forever! The NBA regular season gets going with Warriors vs. Nets and Lakers vs. Clippers. We’re tracking all the action!

Paul George of the LA Clippers passes the ball against the Los Angeles Lakers during a game on December 22, 2020 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images

BASKETBALL!!!! It was only around 70 days or so, but the NBA is already back with the start of the 2020-21 regular season on Tuesday night. To get us started, the NBA gifted us with one of the most jam-packed narratives of the season.

Kevin Durant hasn’t played since rupturing his Achilles in the 2019 NBA Playoffs. Since then, KD has signed with the Brooklyn Nets and sat out an entire season. He makes his long awaited return against none other than Stephen Curry and his former team, the Golden State Warriors. They get us going at 7:00 p.m. ET on TNT.

After that, we get the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers receiving their rings in front of Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center at 10:00 p.m. ET on TNT. LeBron James and Anthony Davis start their quest to repeat with a few reinforcements in the form of Montrezl Harrell and Dennis Schroder. The Clippers added Serge Ibaka to replace Harrell. The Battle for L.A. should be as heated as ever.

Follow here for live updates throughout the night, including a look at live lines, video highlights and fantasy basketball analysis.

Lakers vs. Clippers live updates

Final: LAC 116, LAL 109 — The Lakers only lost by 7 points in the end, but the Clippers pretty much coasted to victory. Paul George shook off some playoff demons from October and had a great game, leading all scorers with 33 points and 6 rebounds. Kawhi backed up PG with 26 points and the big guns from the Lakers didn’t do enough.

LeBron only played 28 minutes and has 22 points, 5 assists and 5 rebounds. AD was below average with 18 points and 7 boards. The two newcomers were the highlight for the Lakers. Harrell finished with 17 points and 10 boards, while Schroder had 14-12-8 on poor shooting in his debut.

Third quarter update — The Lakers had made it a game and now the Clippers are pulling away to end the third quarter, leading 89-78. LeBron is up to 18 points and Schroder is having a strong debut for the Lakers with 14-10-6 in 24 minutes. Kawhi and PG-13 are both up to 22 points heading into the final frame. Harrell has 14 points and 8 boards off the bench.

Halftime update — We’ve got some basketball! The Lakers outscored the Clippers 35-17 in the second quarter and the score is 56-55. This didn’t help my first-quarter spread bet on the Lakers, but at least we should get one solid half of basketball tonight. Yippee! LeBron James and AD both have 10 points. Dennis Schroder has 9 points and Montrezl Harrell has 7 points off the bench. Kawhi Leonard has 13 points to lead all scorers.

10:54 p.m. — Okay, so the Lakers are making a bit of a run and have cut the Clippers lead down to 11 points, 41-30. Kyle Kuzma is really earning his paycheck with 5 points off the bench in 10 minutes. LeBron still only has 3 points and even AD has been quiet with just 6 points and 3 turnovers. For how bad the Lakers have been, they’ve gotta be happy only being down by 11 at this point.

First quarter update — The Clippers are up 20 points on the defending champions, who apparently took the night off after getting their rings before the game. The Lakers are flat at all ends of the court. Jesus, don’t tell me we’re going to get two non-competitive games on opening night. I can’t endure another blowout. Please, LeBron, save us from this misery! Anthony Davis?! Anyone?!

10:35 p.m. — The Clippers are rolling the Lakers. On a positive note, Paul George kicked the ball out to a wide open referee on the wing for a corner 3-pointer ... I mean turnover.

10:27 p.m. — The Lakers are sort of getting smoked right now by the Clippers, who are shooting almost 60 percent from the floor. The Clips are up 29-15. The Lakers can’t score and aren’t playing inspired defense. Meanwhile, the Clippers are playing like they lost to the Lakers in the playoffs or something. LeBron checked out after 6 minutes, which isn’t great news. It’s not even like the Lakers are playing all that bad, they’re shooting 50 percent from the field too. They just can’t get a stop to save their lives.

10:15 p.m. — The Clippers are out to spoil the Lakers’ ring ceremony, up 16-5 early on in the first quarter. Serge Ibaka has an early 8 points in his Clippers debut. The Clips have only missed one field goal, so the Lakers need to turn up the intensity on defense. It’s tough getting your championship rings without fans in the arena and then trying to gain some momentum.

Final: BKN 125, GSW 99 — The first game of our doubleheader was a dub. The Nets basically went wire-to-wire to knock off the Warriors by 26 points. KD scored 22 in his Nets debut. Kyrie had 26 points and LeVert dropped 20 off the bench. Steph finished with 20 points and 10 assists. Rookie James Wiseman had a strong game, mostly in garbage time with 19 points and 6 rebounds in his NBA debut. The Nets are legit and the Warriors may be looking down another top 5 pick if this is to continue.

9:14 p.m. — So the Warriors are heading toward the lottery again, aren’t they? The Nets are up 120-94. It doesn’t look like the over of 234.5 is going to hit at this point. The Warriors didn’t do enough on offense. The Nets are going to cover easily. LeVert is up to 20-9-5 off the bench with Irving and Durant basically sitting the entire fourth quarter. We might as well look forward to the Lakers-Clippers game.

9:03 p.m. — I wish they could call games early so I wouldn’t have to listen to Chris Webber anymore. We are deep into garbage time in this game. KD and Kyrie probably won’t come back in. I don’t think Steph will see the court again either, but we’ll see. Andrew Wiggins and Kelly Oubre were awful for the Dubs. Caris LeVert has been great off the bench for the Nets with 18 points. I think the thing being talked about the least is Brooklyn’s defense tonight. The Dubs’ offense was trash, but give some credit to the Nets.

Third quarter recap — Still nothing has really changed in this game through three quarters, it’s still a shit party in favor of the Nets. Brooklyn leads 99-71. Kyrie is up to 26 points with a quiet frame. KD had a decent third quarter and is up to 22 points. Steph is at least coming through as a chalk play in DFS. He’s got 20 points, 10 assists and 5 rebounds, actually on triple-double watch. Curry should get some run in the fourth to try and get the Dubs out of a hole.

8:46 p.m. — So if you were in a state that allows DraftKings Sportsbook, there was a promotion that basically gave you a free $25 to throw some money on any of the four teams tonight to cover a 75-point spread. Don’t look now, but are the Warriors safe getting 75 points? I’m not exactly sure anymore, hmmmm. Obviously, I’m just kidding. But the Nets are up by 29, which is more than anyone thought heading into this game. Kyrie has 26 and KD is up to 22 points.

8:35 p.m. — Sorry everyone, just overreacting to LeBron James’ minutes news. Okay, back to the shellacking the Nets are laying on the Warriors. So far in the third quarter it’s the Spencer Dinwiddie show. The Nets don’t even need Kyrie or KD to do anything the rest of the way. The score is 84-56. This is embarrassing.

Halftime — The Nets banged a 3-pointer at the end of the half to take a 63-45 lead into the locker room in the first game of the 2020-21 NBA season. Of course it was Irving, who leads all scorers with 24 points at halftime. Durant and LeVert each have 12 points for the Nets, who might see their futures odds for a championship go up exponentially after this game.

Steph has 16 points and 5 assists for the Warriors, who look lost without Dray and Klay. James Wiseman looks decent so far in his first bit of action, but also looks a lot like a rookie. He has 7 points, 4 boards and 2 steals. The Nets were 7.5 points favorites heading into the game. Looks like they’ll clear that number pretty easy if things stay the same and the Dubs don’t adjust.

7:58 p.m. — Is it time for the Lakers ring ceremony? No offense to Steph but I don’t see a scenario in which the Dubs come back in this game. So after typing that, it means the Dubs will definitely come back and make it a game, you’re welcome! Kyrie, KD and LeVert have combined for 43 points, which is more than the entire Warriors team.

7:46 p.m. — The Nets could probably leave Kyrie and KD on the bench the rest of the game and still blowout this Warriors team. Caris LeVert is up to 12 points and 3 rebounds off the bench. He’ll be the go-to guy with Kyrie and KD off the floor. I wonder if they ever have all three on the floor at the same time, that’d be sort of scary. Or it’d be too many cooks. Either way, we’re almost halfway through the second quarter and the Nets are up 50-30.

First quarter recap — The Nets went for 40-plus in the first quarter. This team is for real. The Nets are going to be so fun to watch, thank you Steve Nash and Mike D’Antoni. Durant has 10 points, Kyrie has 17, and the second unit was looking strong against the Dubs. Curry has 9 points but is struggling trying to carry the team. The Nets have a 15-point lead, 40-25 after the first.

7:31 p.m. — Kyrie checked out of the game to give the Warriors a chance. He’s got 17 points in the first quarter. Durant has 10 still. The Dubs is pretty much done in this one unless Curry can come in and save them. The Nets are legit able to run 11-deep and their second unit is filled with starting-caliber players.

7:23 p.m. — The Nets aren’t going to miss often. Brooklyn’s offense is going to score at will. Kelly Oubre just had back-to-back buckets for the Dubs, who are sort of cutting into the lead late in the first quarter. Kyrie is everywhere, though. Brooklyn leads 28-17.

7:14 p.m. — The Dubs take a timeout and the Nets are rolling. Brooklyn leads 18-8 and the offense is just so smooth. It looks a lot like the Phoenix Suns when Steve Nash was winning MVPs, except with Kevin Durant, who looks unstoppable so far. He has 10 points to lead all scorers so far. Steph is off to a slow start with just 4 points.

7:10 p.m. — This game we might see a billion points. Jesus is the pace up. The Nets are basically using the D’Antoni offense, launching up shots almost instantly. The Dubs are the Dubs. We’re getting some misses but it’s just shot after shot after shot. My head is spinning. Durant is off to a hot start 3-for-3 from the field.

Warriors-Nets pick — I’m going with the Nets to pull off the W in their first game under Steve Nash. KD is back. Kyrie is hungry. No Draymond Green for the Dubs. Looking for a big game from Steph tonight but I don’t think it’ll be enough.

TNT broadcast update — Charles Barkley is in mid-season form, which is awesome. Chuck trying to explain why Kevin Durant went to Brooklyn to prove he can win on his own while being surrounding by talent, you just don’t get this type of entertainment in sports. Hopefully we’ll see how dangerous this Nets team can be against a Draymond Green-less Warriors team. How often do you think Shaq wants to get out of his chair and slap Chuck for trying to come at him? I know it’s all in good fun and for TV, but still. I’m surprise Shaq doesn’t flaunt the rings to Chuck more often.

Pre-game notes — So a few things before we get underway with Dubs-Nets. James Wiseman is going to start at center for the Warriors and play in short spurts, per coach Steve Kerr. Wiseman didn’t play at all during the preseason and is getting thrown into the fire as a rookie going up against Kevin Durant.

On the Nets side, Spencer Dinwiddie and DeAndre Jordan will start alongside KD, Kyrie Irving and Joe Harris.