The Clippers attacked the rim, forced easy turnovers, used a stingy defence to keep James and his new sidekick Anthony Davis in check. The Lakers head into the game with no significant injuries and are full strength, while the Clippers are going to be without Paul George.
A 19-7 run to open the fourth helped the Clippers clinch the win and hold off the Lakers down the stretch.
Leonard was booed when he grabbed a microphone before tip-off to thank attendees for coming out.
Just before the song ended ahead of tipoff, James stepped out of line and walked away from his teammates while shouting a passionate, "Let's go!" towards the stands.
His defensive metrics were good a year ago: The Clippers were 5.6 points better per 100 possessions with Zubac on the floor.
Thanks to some lovely scheduling, the Clippers drew cross-town rival LA Lakers first up.
The Lakers roared to a 13-2 lead after a basket by Davis less than four minutes into the contest.
With respect to James and his well-earned "King" moniker, Leonard reminded that it is he who now wears the league's crown. "MVP!" chants while sinking his first free throws of the season.
Liverpool condemn ‘offensive’ Divock Origi banner displayed by fans in Genk
The flag also features the Liverpool badge and Champions League trophy to give a nod to Origi's heroics last season. They've proven that they'll make it hard for top teams to come into their stadium and walk out with three points.
In June almost two million fans clogged Toronto streets for a victory parade but on Tuesday, as the championship banner was hoisted to the rafters, few hopes were being raised along with it.
In the game of the night, reigning champions Toronto Raptors defeated New Orleans Pelicans 130-122 in overtime at the Scotiabank Arena.
Lowry's two free throws with 2:06 left in OT restored Toronto's two-point lead. Lowry answered with his foul shots, VanVleet hit a corner 3, and Lowry also connected from long range to cap a decisive 8-0 run. They did add another All-Star-caliber player in D'Angelo Russell. "That was the difference in the game".
Lou Williams added 21 points and Montrezl Harrell delivered 17 points and seven rebounds off the bench for the Clippers.
Danny Green led the opponents with 28 points. Since we've been on this stage, we've heard a lot of retired guys chiming in on this generation of basketball player and evaluating talent and saying their generation was better and all that. Two elite perimeter defenders and scorers, Leonard and George, have made the Clippers the preseason favorites to win everything.
TORONTO - The Toronto Raptors slipped on shiny new rings, unfurled a championship banner, then got their title defense started with a hard-fought victory. Meanwhile, Kawhi Leonard will make his debut for the Los Angeles Clippers.
"It's a great sign of leadership", coach Doc Rivers said.