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    NBA Returns as Lakers Edge Clippers 103 – 101

    By Connor Lynch
    LeBron James and Anthony Davis

    The NBA is back. The Lakers squeezed past the Clippers 103 – 101 in a Los Angeles rivalry played out in the Orlando bubble.

    Given the positions of both teams, this game was potentially a warm up for the first playoff meeting between them.

    Earlier this week, Hall of Famer Charles Barkley cited Anthony Davis as the difference between the two Los Angeles teams.

    So it proved, with Davis scoring 34 points to help the Lakers edge an up-and-down game.

    The Lakers are now 6.5 games ahead of the Clippers at the top of the Western Conference. With seven games remaining, they’re set up for a Championship run.

     

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    As for the experience of playing without the fans, the players were positive about it postgame.

    “It felt like a real game to me, two teams battling. … Can’t complain for the first game,” Davis said.

    “It was a good game,” Kawhi Leonard said. “Still had fun out there. It was great to be back on the floor.”

    Losing the game in the dying seconds will feel like a punch in the gut for the Clippers. Coach Doc Rivers was introspective about the result. 

    “We can’t have self-inflicted wounds and I thought we had too many of them,” he said.

    LeBron James had 16 points, 11 rebounds and 7 assists, as well as a vital defensive contribution late in the game. Kyle Kuzma scored 16.

    Paul George added 30 points for the Clippers, while Kawhi Leonard scored 28. 

     

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    The Los Angeles Lakers are the favorites to win the NBA title at + 200. They are trailed by the Bucks (+260) and the Clippers (+325). The Lakers’ next game is on Saturday against the Toronto Raptors.