Veterans Guide Los Angeles Clippers To Opening Victory Against Blazers

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The Los Angeles Clippers defeated the visiting Portland Trail Blazers 123-111 on Wednesday, making light work of their season opener thanks to 27 points from Paul George and 23 from Kawhi Leonard.

For the Clippers, who extended their winning streak over the Trail Blazers to six games, including all three last season, Ivica Zubac had 20 points, 12 rebounds, and four blocked shots, while Russell Westbrook had 11 points and 13 assists.

Despite having been hampered by injury the previous two seasons, veterans George and Leonard were able to ease into the season by playing 32 and 29 minutes, respectively, because of the big lead they had throughout.

In his first game back in Portland, Malcolm Brogdon scored 20 points off the bench, and Anfernee Simons added another 18 points. This was the Trail Blazers’ first game without Damian Lillard in twelve years. After asking for a trade, Lillard was traded to the Milwaukee Bucks during the offseason.

The Blazers made several team debuts in their new appearance. Deandre Ayton chipped in with four points and twelve rebounds, Robert Williams III scored ten points and pulled down seven rebounds, and rookie point guard Scoot Henderson finished with eleven points with four assists.

Henderson, the third overall pick in this year’s draft, shot 5 of 11 from the field for the game’s points, but he also gave up four turnovers in the first half.

The Clippers took charge right on, jumping out to a 12-point lead in the opening quarter and using their 56.5 percent shooting from the field to lead 67-47 at the half.

In the third quarter, Portland was able to get within 16 points, but Los Angeles responded with a 17-3 run that put them ahead 96-66. As the quarter came to a finish, the Clippers led 99-73.

After the Blazers made back-to-back 3-pointers early in the fourth quarter to narrow the deficit to 102-79, Leonard and George came back, and with 5:18 left, Los Angeles had taken the lead 115-91.

Terance Mann, the Clippers’ anticipated starting guard, was sidelined due to a sprained left ankle.