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Lakers Top Clippers 87-81 In Preseason Opener

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA/AP) — The NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers beat the Los Angeles Clippers 87-81 Friday night at the Staples Center in their preseason opener.

Clippers Lakers Basketball
Los Angeles Lakers forward Montrezl Harrell, left, drives toward the basket as Los Angeles Clippers forward Mfiondu Kabengele defends during the second half of an NBA preseason basketball game in Los Angeles, Friday, Dec. 11, 2020. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

With the coronavirus pandemic ongoing and case numbers still rising, the era that started for the NBA with the suspension of last season on March 11 — the night that Utah's Rudy Gobert tested positive — resumed with the league and its teams erring on the sides of caution and safety.

"It's different, for sure," Lakers coach Frank Vogel said before the game that saw coaches donning face masks, bench seating areas spaced out to encourage social distancing and zero spectators.

LeBron James and Anthony Davis, who were last seen on the floor together less than two months ago when the Lakers topped the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals while in the Walt Disney World bubble, got the preseason opener off.

Talen Horton-Tucker scored 19 points and Kyle Kuzma had 18 for the Lakers.

Montrezl Harrell had 13 points and 12 rebounds against his former team and Dennis Schroder added 10 points for the Lakers. Paul George had 10 for the Clippers and Kawhi Leonard managed three in 14 minutes.

Both teams shot exactly 30 for 84 from the field, and none of the Clippers' starters logged even 15 minutes.

The NBA preseason game also saw the debut of Clippers' new head coach Tyronn Lue.

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