Despite changes to the roster in the offseason, the Clippers are still the team to beat in Los Angeles.
Blake Griffin had 29 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Los Angeles Clippers to a 108-92 win over the Los Angeles Lakers in the season-opening battle between inner-city rivals.
Lonzo Ball didn't have the NBA debut he hoped for, finishing with three points, four assists and nine rebounds in the loss.
It was hard for him going against one of the better perimeter defenders in the NBA, Patrick Beverley, who had an interesting strategy according to Stephen A. Smith of ESPN:
Beverley was physical all game and tied for a team-best plus-20 on the court, helping hold Ball to 1-of-6 shooting.
Griffin was the star of the day while filling up the box score in a lot of ways. In addition to his scoring, he had three assists, two steals and was 3-of-6 from three-point range.
It was a great sign going forward for the Clippers:
Not to be outdone, DeAndre Jordan was a force inside with 15 points and 24 rebounds to help complete the blowout.
Both teams were pumped up for the first game of the year, and it showed with some huge dunks right off the bat:
The Clippers were in better control, making their shots while building an eight-point lead after the first quarter. The solid play continued toward a 53-42 lead at halftime behind the play of their two star big men.
Griffin had 18 points in the first half, and Jordan dominated inside with 16 rebounds.
While replacing Chris Paul will be an issue this year, Griffin even took on some point guard duties with this fast break:
The Lakers simply couldn't keep up as the game progressed, struggling on both ends of the court while getting outscored by 13 points in the third quarter.
There wasn't much to be excited about offensively:
The squad struggled with its shooting with Brandon Ingram especially disappointing with 12 points on 3-of-15 from the field. Brook Lopez at least came through with 20 points in his Lakers debut.
The lead ballooned to 30 in the fourth quarter before the Clippers were able to close out a 16-point win.
There was a lot of hype coming into the game for Ball, the second overall pick in the 2017 draft. However, the offensive prowess wasn't easily seen early on as it took late into the second quarter for him to get his first points of the game.
This three-pointer ended up being his only points:
Nate Duncan of RealGM discussed the positives from the rookie's game:
He ended with 29 minutes played, although Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated questioned why he was rested at the end of the blowout:
One answer is that the Lakers won't get much time off before their second game as they will travel to take on the Phoenix Suns on Friday night. The Clippers also face the Suns in their next game but will be home on Saturday.
Eight of the team's first nine games will take place at the Staples Center.