clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

NBA Scores: Kawhi Leonard returns in Clippers tight win over Lakers

Plus: Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks drop Sixers to 0-2.

NBA: Los Angeles Clippers at Los Angeles Lakers Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Okay, well now Wednesday night’s NBA action just looks and feels like a tease. So we just go from one night of two games to a night of 11 games, then another one of just two? And act like that’s nothing? I know it’s the format, and I know these guys need some days off. But as a fan, I want to be able to second-screen a tilt between two potential MVP finalists this season with something a bit more interesting. Say, Pacers-Spurs?

I’m a sick individual, but aren’t we all? Speaking of tilts between MVP probable, let’s get to the scores from Wednesday’s tandem of NBA games.

NBA: Milwaukee Bucks at Philadelphia 76ers Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Bucks drop Sixers in their opener, win 90-88

Philadelphians have had plenty of reasons to be feeling pretty great of late. The Eagles are the only undefeated team left in the NFL; the Phillies are tied with the Padres at one game apiece in the NLCS. But what about the poor saps who root solely for the Sixers? How must they feel after a late triple from Wesley Matthews buried their squad for good in a rickety home opener?

I wouldn’t lose too much sleep over this “poor” start. For one, it’s two games. There are 80 more to be played, and most of them won’t be against the two best teams in the Eastern Conference (which is exactly how Philly has started its season). Second, Joel Embiid looked like hell on Thursday night. He scored just 15 points in just over 36 minutes of action and shot six-for-21 from the field. He finished -10, the worst differential on the Sixers. That won’t last.

On the bright side, James Harden looks locked in. In 40 minutes of work, he dropped 31 points and added nine assists, plus eight rebounds. He’s been Philly’s best player to start the season, and it isn’t particularly close.

Giannis had 21-13-8 and looked like he could’ve done it in his sleep. Ho-hum.

Clippers outlast Lakers in tight Battle of L.A., 103-97

Things in Laker Land aren’t... great. They’ve started the season 0-2 once again, and despite their first two games of the season having come against the defending champs and one of this season’s favorites to win it all, it just looks (and is) so bad. LeBron James and Anthony Davis combined for 45, but Lonnie Walker IV (26 points) was the team’s leading scorer. Russell Westbrook, you ask? He played some solid defense against Kawhi Leonard on a few trips, but offensively, he was ghastly. Two points, 0-for-11 from the field. What’s the benefit to him being out there? That he’s a warm body? So is my grandmother, but I don’t see anyone offering her $41,358,814 per year to throw bricks at a hoop.

The Clippers, meanwhile, showed poise, if not their hand. Kawhi Leonard came off the bench in his first action since tearing his ACL in the 2020-21 playoffs. That was 493 days ago, believe it or not. He finished with 14 points on six-of-12 shooting, and added seven rebounds and two assists in 21 minutes. Across the board for the Clippers, minutes were doled out somewhat equally, as were shots. Paul George and John Wall were the team’s leading scorers, but had just 15 apiece. Ty Lue has endless lineup combinations to toy with, so while I don’t expect Leonard and George to hover around 15 total points all season, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?