A go-ahead layup by LeBron James with 12.8 seconds lifted the Los Angeles Lakers to a 103-101 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers in the battle of L.A.
Attempting to draw a foul, James was able to grab his own missed shot and put it back in.
James also played tight defense on Paul George and forced a missed three-point shot at the buzzer.
Despite James struggling in the first half thanks to Kawhi Leonard’s stout defense, he was still able to record a near triple-double, with 16 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists.
Anthony Davis picked up the slack, leading all scorers with 34 points, shooting 8-for-19 from the field and 16-for-17 from the free throw line.
Davis’ recent eye injury certainly didn’t slow him down.
Without Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell, the Clippers leaned even more heavily on George and Leonard.
The two players combined for 58 points, more than half of the Clippers’ total.
The Clippers didn’t have much of a presence in the post without Harrell, as Ivica Zubac was in foul trouble most of the game and only played 15 minutes.
Joakim Noah only played 10 minutes and was in some foul trouble as well.
The Clippers were forced to play a smaller lineup with either JaMychal Green (29 minutes) or Patrick Patterson (22 minutes) playing at center.
While the on-court play was entertaining and exciting, James brought the focus back to social justice after the game and had an important message.
“The game of basketball has always been bigger than just the ball and the rim and 10 guys on the floor,” he said in his postgame interview. “It’s an opportunity to use this platform to be able to spread a lot of positive, a lot of love, throughout the whole world. We understand what is going on in society right now. And we’re using this NBA platform as the players, as the coaches, as organizations to continue to stand strong on that. This is a good start. It’s great to have the NBA back. I hope our fans are proud of us tonight.”
Both teams play again on Aug. 1, as the Lakers play the Toronto Raptors and the Clippers take on the New Orleans Pelicans.