NBA opening night: Lakers-Clippers headline doubleheader

July 30, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, USA; LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers dribbles the ball against Kawhi Leonard #2 of the LA Clippers during the third quarter of the game at The Arena at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on July 30, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Mandatory Credit: Mike Ehrmann/Pool Photo via USA TODAY Sports

NBA opening night for the 2020-21 season is now less than three weeks away. It seems like the Los Angeles Lakers earned the title just days ago. But that’s what happens during a truncated offseason around the Association.

Speaking of the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers, they will take on the Los Angeles Clippers to close out the NBA opening night doubleheader on Dec. 22 at the Staples Center.

Meanwhile, Kevin Durant’s first game as a member of the Brooklyn Nets will come earlier that night against his former Golden State Warriors squad.

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NBA opening night: Lakers-Clippers do battle

The NBA featured this game on Christmas Day last season. It makes a lot of sense. We’re talking about four of the biggest stars going up against one another in the nation’s second-largest media market. LeBron James and Anthony Davis taking taking on Kawhi Leonard and Paul George in an arena both of these teams share.

While fans won’t be in attendance for this elite-level matchup between the teams who finished one and two in the Western Conference last season, it still promises to be fun.

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LeBron averaged 21.3 points, 9.5 rebounds and 8.5 assists in four games against the Clippers last season. Meanwhile, Leonard averaged 30.0 points on 51% shooting en route to helping the Clippers to a season split with the eventual NBA champs.

NBA Opening Night: Kevin Durant’s make debut against former team

NBA opening night: Nets-Warriors
Apr 26, 2019; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) and forward Kevin Durant (35) react in the first half of game six of the first round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs against the LA Clippers at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA knew exactly what it was doing for the first half of the doubleheader on opening night. The last time Durant suited up in a game, he tore his Achilles as a member of the Golden State Warriors in Game 5 of the 2019 NBA Finals. Durant will now be making his Brooklyn Nets debut against his former team after sitting out all of last season.

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Durant’s Nets have title expectations as he will team up with Kyrie Irving for the first time on Dec. 22. He will go up against fellow former NBA MVP Stephen Curry, who is also making his return after playing in just five games a season ago. Sure there’s some brotherly love between Durant and Curry. However, there’s also some ill-feelings after the way Durant departed the Warriors in free agency back in July of 2019. This should be an absolute blast.