Baron Davis Looks To Stop Lakers Juggernaut In Debut

He’s got $65 million in the bank from his new contract and is back home, not all that far from where he went to high school at Crossroads in Santa Monica, or where he played his college ball at UCLA.

Tonight Baron Davis dons the Clippers gear for the first regular season game, part of a radically revamped Clippers roster taking on a Lakers team that looked pretty much the same as last year — but better — in a 96-76 opening night route of Portland.

The Lakers got the win last night with defense, holding the Trailblazers to 31% shooting in the first half, pulling away to an early double digit lead and never looking back.

“We made them take hurried shots with the clock running down or shots out of their comfort zone,” Jackson said. “But they did miss some open shots so we can’t take all the credit for the defense.”

The Lakers would be happy with a repeat performance tonight, whether it’s the Clippers missing or the Lakers defense.

The Clippers come in off a 3-4 preseason in which its big new stars — Davis and Marcus Camby — spent very little time on the court due to injuries. Davis played just 18 minutes in one game due to a finger injury he said he would play through tonight. That was 18 more minutes than Camby has played due to a heel problem, and he is not going to suit up for tonight’s season opener.

Not having another big man made it a tough preseason for Clippers big man Chris Kaman, who shot just 35.6% in the seven games he played and averaged 7.4 points per game (after averaging 15.7 points per game on 48% shooting last season). Part of the problem is that with no other frontline player considered a scoring threat, teams were quick to double-team Kaman all preseason. (Camby, while known for his defense, has a very reliable 15 to 17 foot jumper that should help relieve some of that pressure.)

The Lakers got out and ran on the Trailblazers, and with a guy who likes to run-and-gun like Davis, tonight should be an entertaining, up and down contest. If you can’t get down to Staples for the 7:30 tip-off (there were more than 1,000 seats still available as of this morning) the game will be on ESPN.

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