LeBron James, Anthony Davis Sit as Lakers Beat Clippers 87-81 in Preseason Clash

LeBron James, Anthony Davis Sit as Lakers Beat Clippers 87-81 in Preseason Clash

Los Angeles Lakers forward Montrezl Harrell dunks during the first half of the team's NBA preseason basketball game against the Los Angeles Clippers in Los Angeles, Friday, Dec. 11, 2src2src. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

Kyusung Gong/Associated Press

The Los Angeles Lakers beat the L.A. Clippers 87-81 in an NBA preseason matchup Friday at Staples Center.

Lakers guard Talen Horton-Tucker led all scorers with 19 points. Teammate and forward/center Montrezl Harrell posted a 13-point, 12-rebound double-double.

Lakers forward Anthony Davis and guard/forward LeBron James both rested. Clippers forwards Kawhi Leonard and Paul George played 14 minutes apiece in the first half but sat for the second.

The game also marked the debuts of a few veterans on new teams, including Clippers big man Serge Ibaka, Lakers guard Dennis Schroder and Harrell, who spent his last three seasons with the Clips before signing with their crosstown rival.

The Lakers-Clippers tilt marked the first 2020-21 preseason battle for both teams.

Notable Performances

Clippers F Kawhi Leonard: 3 PTS, 7 REB, 2 STL

Clippers F Paul George: 10 PTS, 2 REB, 1 AST

Clippers C Serge Ibaka: 6 PTS, 2 REB

Lakers F/C Montrezl Harrell: 13 PTS, 12 REB, 2 STL

Lakers SG Talen Horton-Tucker: 19 PTS, 9 REB, 3 STL

Lakers PG Dennis Schroder: 10 PTS, 4 REB, 1 AST

Harrell Posts Dominant Double-Double; Horton-Tucker Finishes Clips

Lakers big man Harrell spent three seasons with the Clippers. He began his tenure as a promising and efficient substitute who scored 11.0 points in just 17.0 minutes per game. He ended it as the league’s best bench player, winning the Sixth Man of the Year award.

Now Harrell is writing a new chapter in purple and gold after signing a two-year deal with the Lakers. He started on the right foot by getting aggressive on the offensive end and scoring a few buckets.

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Trezz going right at Ibaka 😯 https://t.co/mZNkWbt0Pp

Harrell characteristically never let up, as the high-energy big man stripped the ball from Ibaka and coasted for an easy two:

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Cookies and jam for Trezz 😤 https://t.co/p8SZQ0CHvb

He left the court with 13 points and 12 boards in 31 minutes, finishing his first game with his new team with a victory.

The Lakers probably wouldn’t have ended on the winning side without the splendid efforts of Horton-Tucker, who made a great case for a permanent spot in the rotation.

He was excellent on both ends with his game-high 19 points and three steals, but he played the part of closer down the stretch.

With the Lakers down 73-72 and 5:54 left in the fourth, Horton-Tucker went to work. He drew a foul and knocked down a pair of free throws, got an and-1 layup and then made two more from the charity stripe to finish with seven points in a 1:38 span. At the end of it, L.A. led 82-77, and that was all it needed for the win.

In addition, James was clearly impressed with Horton-Tucker’s work, celebrating after this tough bucket in the third:

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Talen Horton-Tucker showing out and Bron is here for it 🙌 https://t.co/ycpdOqILPF

This nice fake helped the Lakers keep their momentum in the second quarter:

Los Angeles Lakers @Lakers

That’s a mean fake, @Thortontucker.

(📺: @SpectrumSN) https://t.co/gGxIu3bkfr

We’ll soon find out where Horton-Tucker fits into the Lakers’ 2020-21 plans when the season begins Dec. 22, but he showed out Friday as L.A. began its preseason with a win thanks largely to his efforts.

Paul George Has Solid Preseason Debut Amid a Busy Week

The Clippers signed George to a four-year, $190 million extension Thursday, meaning the six-time All-Star is guaranteed as much as $226 million for the next five seasons.

“I owe them a trophy,” George said during a press conference announcing the extension. “That’s what I owe this organization. This is a window that we’re trying to capture. And my commitment and my job is to try to bring a title here.”

George, Leonard and the rest of the Clippers have some work to do to erase the memory of a disappointing 2019-20 season that started with championship expectations but ended with blowing a 3-1 lead to the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Semifinals.

Not everyone is back from last year’s team, with head coach Doc Rivers and Sixth Man of the Year Montrezl Harrell the two most notable departures. Former Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue has assumed the same position with L.A.

The road from the preseason to nba Finals glory is always long and arduous, no matter how dominant a team may be (see: 2015-16 Golden State Warriors).

But George got off to a good start Friday, albeit against a short-handed Lakers team. 

He finished plus-13 in just 14 minutes, scoring 10 points and knocking down two of his four three-pointers.

FOX sports West @FoxSportsWest

Oh this is smoooooooth, @Yg_Trece 🤩

@LAClippers https://t.co/ElKxooMUDY

PG-13 also knocked down a mid-range jumper on the edge of the paint to cut the Lakers’ lead to 30-26 in the second quarter:

LA Clippers @LAClippers

[email protected]_Trece gettin’ to his spot. https://t.co/b3ihB5lqOg

It’s hard to glean much (if anything at all) from George’s preseason debut other than that he did about as expected.

What’s Next?

The Lakers and Clippers will meet again Sunday at 8:30 p.m. ET for their next preseason matchup. 

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