As the Toronto Raptors players unveiled their winning NBA banner and received their Championships rings, the 2019 MVP was tearing it up in his new home in Southern California.
The LA Clippers won the off-court summer battle with the Lakers to land Leonard. In the shared Staples Centre the response to Leonard's pre-match pledge that "We're going to work hard every night. Let's get it going" was met with fulsome if opposing reactions from both sets of fans.
— NBA (@NBA) October 23, 2019
LA is now home to four of the biggest names in the game, Kawhi, LeBron, Anthony Davis, and Paul George. The later not on the court last night as George is still out injured.
Clippers coach Doc Rivers was keen to push the "one of 82" message in a vain attempt to play down the pre-game hype. The call was unsuccessful.
Lakers led after the first quarter but the Clippers took control in the second. The "grit over glam" mantra was clear to see in the Clippers' play. The fare was described by ESPN's Kevin Arnovitz as "industrial grade product" making the most of Leonard's power.
Despite the grit message, it was first blood to the 2019 MVP Kawhi in the opening battle at the Staples this season. Leonard left his new home as the top scorer. He helped himself to 30 pts, six rebounds and five assists from just 31 minutes and 33 seconds of court time.
The Clippers beating the Lakers 112 -102 on game night one.
While up at the Scotiabank Arena the Raptors players unveiled their NBA Championship banner. They were also presented with the largest ever Championship rings.
Even by the sport's usual affront to taste, they are spectacularly gaudy. The rings boast 14 carats' worth of diamonds and more than 650 total diamonds; both the most ever in any professional championship ring.
— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) October 22, 2019
On the court, the reigning champions got their season off to an unspectacular but winning start. The Raptors requiring overtime to see off the New Orleans Pelicans by 130-122.
Pascal Siakam was joint top-scorer for The North with 34 points, 18 rebounds and five assists in just over 38 minutes on court.
The NBA season really kicks into gear tonight. There are eleven games on court, with the Celtics vist to the Philadelphia the pick of the action.