1 of 5 | Los Angeles Clippers guard Paul George dunks over Portland Trail Blazers forward Robert Williams III on Wednesday at Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles. Photo by Jon SooHoo/UPI | License Photo
Oct. 26 (UPI) -- Paul George and Kawhi Leonard scored 27 and 23 points, respectively, to lead the Los Angeles Clippers to a 12-point win over the Portland Trail Blazers in their 2023 NBA season opener.
Leonard made 5 of 5 attempts from 3-point range in the 123-111 victory Wednesday at Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles. George made four of the Clippers' 16 shots from downtown.
"I thought we played with pace, we played with energy and our intensity was there," George told reporters. "That allowed us to get opportunities to attack the basket."
The Clippers outshot the Blazers 52.2% to 47.3%. They made 47.1% of their shots from 3-point range. The Clippers also edged the Blazers 36 to 20 in assists and led by as many as 30 points.
"We came out early, played defense and shared the ball," Leonard said. "That's all you can ask for. We talked, communicated on defense, we were driving, passing and getting out in transition. We were able to knock down shots."
The Clippers used a 13-2 run midway through the first quarter to carry a 29-20 edge into the second. George then scored 12 points over the next 12 minutes to help the Clippers take a 67-47 edge at halftime.
Leonard made 5 of 8 shots, including three 3-pointers, for 13 points in the third quarter. The Clippers held a 99-73 edge to start the fourth.
The Blazers outscored the Clippers 38-24 over the final 12 minutes, but could not delete their large deficit.
Malcolm Brogdon, who joined the Blazers in an off-season trade from the Boston Celtics, scored 20 points off the bench. Fellow Blazers guard Anfernee Simons totaled 18 points.
Center Ivan Zubac recorded 20 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks for the Clippers. Bones Hyland scored 17 points off the Clippers bench. Fellow Clippers guard Russell Westbrook recorded 11 points, 13 assists and five rebounds.
The Clippers (1-0) will face the Utah Jazz (0-1) at 9:30 p.m. EDT Friday in Salt Lake City. The Blazers (0-1) will host the Orlando Magic (1-0) at 10 p.m. Friday in Portland.