NBA: Clippers win hard-fought season opener against Portland

Los Angeles (AFP) - The Los Angeles Clippers opened the season with 114-106 win over Portland on Thursday, wasting no time getting back into the trenches with the team that knocked them out of the play-offs last term.

Blake Griffin and Chris Paul each scored 27 points in the Clippers' regular season debut at the Moda Center arena in Portland, Oregon.

Tempers flared often in an emotional and physical battle that included a number of hard fouls.

Portland were whistled for 34 fouls and the Clippers attempted 46 free throws.

The game came just 24 weeks after the Trail Blazers eliminated the Clippers in Game 6 of the first round of the National Basketball Association play-offs.

Said Portland coach Terry Stotts: "That type of familiarity brings out a rivalry."

Griffin, who also grabbed 13 rebounds, was a favourite target of the Trail Blazers' aggression.

"Enough is a enough," said Paul, who finished with five rebounds and five assists. "You got to treat every game like it is a rivalry."

The Clippers are on the short list of contenders to make it to the NBA finals this season.

Paul said the Clippers are going to have to watch out for each other out if they are going to be successful.

"Everything was all about togetherness. There is not going to be one guy that does it every night," he said.

In Sacramento, Kawhi Leonard scored 30 points as the San Antonio Spurs used a second-half blitz to beat the Kings 102-94.

San Antonio earned a seventh consecutive victory against Sacramento thanks to Leonard, who is coming into his own as a superstar in the league.

He stole the ball three times over four Kings possessions, turning one of them into his own lay-up, another into two free throws, and the third into a lay-up for team-mate Dewayne Dedmon.

DeMarcus Cousins scored 37 points and grabbed 16 rebounds for Sacramento, who were denied their first 2-0 start since 2003. Rudy Gay added 17 points for the Kings.