LOS ANGELES — The LA Clippers defeated the Portland Trail Blazers, 123-111 in their season opener at Crypto.com Arena, their last season at the stadium formerly known as Staples Center. Here are some keys from the victory.
Turning point: A newly-looking, fast-paced offense kept Los Angeles in control for most of the game. The Clippers put up 38 points on 14-of-22 shooting in just the second quarter. That allowed for a large 67-47 gap at the half.
Los Angeles managed to hold the Trail Blazers off throughout the second half, and led by as much as 30 before coasting to a 123-111 win.
What it means: The team opens up the 2023-34 regular season 1-0 with Wednesday’s win over Portland. As a squad full of great expectations, the team showed great promise on both sides of the ball but have a long journey ahead with 79 games scheduled.
Hits: The Clippers squad kicked off the year with an impressive offensive performance, shooting 52% from the field and 47% from deep. The team also totaled 36 assists, while Paul George and Kawhi Leonard combined for 50 points on the court.
Misses: As much as the Clippers would have liked to have all of their starters healthy, Terance Mann and one left sprained ankle had other plans. Mann was sidelined in Wednesday’s opener sporting a boot, but according to head coach Ty Lue the injury is not expected to keep him out for an extended period of time. Marcus Morris Sr., Josh Primo, and Brandon Boston Jr. were also listed as inactive.
Stat of the game: Russell Westbrook finished Wednesday’s game with four dunks, which also ties with his career high. He set the tone early for the whole offense and ended with 11 points, five rebounds and 13 assists.
Up next: The Clippers will head to Utah to play against the Jazz on Friday at the Delta Center. Los Angeles last faced the Jazz just a little over two weeks ago for a pair of exhibition games, where the Clippers went 1-1. The team also went 1-3 overall with Utah last season.