LeBron James doesn’t believe the Lakers and Clippers have a true “rivalry,” playing down their highly-anticipated season opener Tuesday night.
James finished with 18 points, nine rebounds and eight assists, and says Round 1 of The Battle of L.A. wasn’t a big test for either team.
Kawhi Leonard led the Clips in their 112-102 victory with a game-high 30 points, six rebounds, five assists and two steals.
Per Yahoo Sports:
“The moment they made the schedule, it was almost positioned as a prizefight,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said.
When Leonard addressed the crowd before the tip, he was met with a shower of boos, along with applause.
“I disagree on how big of a test it was. It’s the first game,” LeBron James said. “Obviously the NBA is back, and that’s what everyone is trying to [start], the narrative of a rivalry game and a huge test. Both teams are not who they want to be. … It’s not a rivalry. We’re trying to get better every single day on how we can be as great as we can be.”
During training camp, both teams did their part in publicly downplaying a city rivalry. But there’s no denying that this is anything but a budding rivalry.
“It’s one game,” [Anthony] Davis told Yahoo Sports. “We’ll get better.”