Paul George and Kawhi Leonard Join Elite Pair of LA Clippers Teammates to Reach Unique Opening Night Feat

Published 12/23/2020, 1:17 AM EST
Dec 22, 2020; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) controls the ball against LA Clippers guard Paul George (13) in the second half at Staples Center. The Clippers defeated the Lakers. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports


Paul George and Kawhi Leonard had a statement win over the LA Lakers in their opening game of the season. The Clippers took the lead with a Patrick Beverley basket at the start of the game and never gave it up. Even when the Lakers came within a point after fighting back from a 22-point deficit, the Clippers stayed strong and won.

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The main reasons for the win has to be Kawhi and PG playing the way they should have played in the last playoffs. Despite having a poor shooting night, Kawhi ended the game with 26 points on 38.5% efficiency. However, the number one star was easily Paul George, who scored 33 points on 72.2% shooting.

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This made them the third pair of teammates in Clippers history to have 25-point performances to open the season. The other pairs were Bob McAdoo and Ernie DiGregorio in 1974, and Blake Griffin with Chris Paul in 2016.

Paul George and Kawhi Leonard set the tone for the season

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This game was a hard-fought battle. However, the Clippers did one thing that they couldn’t in the playoffs last year. They took a lead and actually managed to hold on to it. Even though the Lakers came tantalizingly close to taking the lead for themselves, the Clippers kept them at bay.

Dec 22, 2020; Los Angeles, California, USA; LA Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard (2) shoots against Los Angeles Lakers forward Montrezl Harrell (15) in the first quarter at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

This win should especially mean a lot for Paul George, who has answered an off-season worth of doubts with his stellar performance. We have seen him do a lot of good things on the court with the Indiana Pacers and the OKC Thunder. The first season in LA was bad, but mainly because of his injury issues and the lack of chemistry of the team.

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PG deserved criticism for not being accountable for his play in the Playoffs. However, this is a new season and PG is evidently willing to put in the work on the court to do better. Considering Kawhi will be a free agent while PG is locked up, this year’s play may have a significant impact on the future of this franchise.

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Ishaan Bhattacharya

1510 articles

Ishaan Bhattacharya is an NBA, NCAA Basketball, and Combat Sports writer at EssentiallySports. Currently, Ishaan is pursuing a Post Graduate Degree in Journalism from Xavier's Institute of Communication. Previously, Ishaan has written for The Indian Express, The Quint, Sportskeeda, and WrestleClub.

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