After months of being away from action, the NBA returned on Thursday night with a pair of games. Obviously, the later of the pair was the main event, as LeBron James’ Lakers took on Kawhi Leonard and the Clippers in an all-LA affair. When the dust had settled between the inner-city rivals in a tense, tight game, it was the Lakers that won by a score of 103-101.
James’ late layup after a miss with about 13 seconds to go proved to be the difference, canceling out a tremendous night by Paul George, who had 30 points on 11 of 17 from the field. Anthony Davis, not James, led the Lakers in scoring with 34, 16 of which came from the free throw line. The aforementioned Leonard didn’t disappoint, either, as he put a very respectable 28 despite shooting less than 50% from the field. In the other game of the night, we saw the Utah Jazz come back from a large deficit to defeat the New Orleans Pelicans. The 106-104 win was clinched by the ever-controversial Rudy Gobert’s pair of free throws in the closing moments. He had 14 total points and 12 rebounds in the win. The Pelicans had led by 12 at half-time, but they let the lead get away from them. That could prove costly as the ‘regular season’ draws to a close. Jordan Clarkson (Utah) and Brandon Ingram (New Orleans) led their respective teams with 23 points apiece.