Lakers, Clippers to Open Season at Staples Center

Staples Center

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers will meet at Staples Center tonight to open the 2019-20 NBA season, with both teams showcasing their major off-season acquisitions.

The game will be the Laker debut for forward Anthony Davis, a six-time NBA all-star acquired from the New Orleans Pelicans. The Lakers acquired Davis July 6 in a three-team trade that also involved the Washington Wizards, in which the Lakers dealt away seven players, three draft choices and cash considerations and agreed to swap a first-round pick with the Pelicans.

The Clippers signed two-time NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard and acquired six-time all-star forward Paul George in a trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder in July for guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, forward Danilo Gallinari, five first-round draft choices and the right to swap two other first-round choices.

George will miss the opener and an unknown additional number of games because of a shoulder injury.

Laker forward Kyle Kuzma will also miss the opener because of an ankle injury. He was the team's second-leading scorer in the 2018-19 season behind LeBron James, averaging 18.7 points per game.

Davis is among 10 newcomers on the Lakers' 17-player roster, including center Dwight Howard, who returns to the team after a six-season absence.

Howard is the only current Laker to have played for the team before the 2017-18 season.

Leonard and George are among eight newcomers on the Clippers' 17- player roster.

The game is also the Laker coaching debut of Frank Vogel, the team's fifth permanent coach since the retirement of Phil Jackson in 2011.

Vogel replaces Luke Walton. The team and Walton “mutually agreed to part ways” April 12, three days after they completed the season with a 37-45 record, missing the NBA playoffs for the sixth consecutive season. They had missed the playoffs five times in their 65 seasons preceding the current streak.

Vogel had a 304-291 record in six seasons with the Indiana Pacers and Orlando Magic. He guided the Pacers to five playoff appearances and back-to- back trips to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2013 and 2014.

The game also marks the start of the Clippers “Honey Steal of a Deal” ticket campaign, in which a limited number of $10 tickets will be available at Staples Center box office windows 16 and 17 beginning 90 minutes before tip-off of each of their 41 regular-season home games.

To purchase the tickets, fans must be wearing Clippers colors (red and blue) and following the Los Angeles-based shopping website Honey on Instagram.

Ty Dolla $ign will perform his song, “Hottest in the City” as part of a partnership with the Clippers which also includes co-branded “Ty Dolla $ign x Clippers” merchandise, available at the Team LA store, a chance for fans to win a meet-and-greet hosted by the rhythm and blues singer and rapper, whose birth name is Tyrone William Griffin Jr. There will also be giveaways throughout the game.

The NBA has adopted a zero tolerance policy for racist or anti-LGBQT comments reported during a game that if found to have occurred will result in ejection and ban of the offending fan.

There is also an expansion of the courtside zone, which now includes six rows up from the floor around the court perimeter and six vertical columns of seats around the areas where players and referees enter and exit the floor.

Fans sitting in those seats will have a briefing from arena security every game. A flier will be placed on each seat reminding fans that sitting in the area has additional responsibilities and of the fan code of conduct.

The NBA informed its teams in August of enhancements to its Fan Code of Conduct so they would have ample time to have materials printed and be able to communicate with their ticket holders.

Photo: Getty Images

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