The NBA has officially released the schedule for the upcoming 2012-13 season. Laker fans found out what dates to circle on the calendar as far as key match-ups next season, such as the Christmas Day game and games against elite teams and rivals. However, a big part of the season revolves around facing the teams in the Lakers’ division. These games not only are intriguing because of the familiarity with each other, but also because of the atmosphere divisional games create around the team and the fans.
Last season, the Lakers had a 9-5 record for divisional games. Against the Phoenix Suns the Lakers were 2-2. Against the Sacramento Kings the Lakers went 1-2. Against the Los Angeles Clippers the Lakers went 2-1. Against the Golden State Warriors the Lakers went 4-0.
Below is a breakdown of divisional games for the Lakers by the month, along with a prediction of how the Lakers will finish each month against their division teams.
No divisional games scheduled.
The Lakers have their first game with their hallway rival, the Los Angeles Clippers, on November 2nd at Staples Center (home game). The Lakers face the Golden State Warriors on the 9th at Staples Center. Then the Lakers stay at home to face the Sacramento Kings on the 11th. On the 16th, Steve Nash faces his old team for the first time as the Lakers face the Phoenix Suns at home. The Lakers travel to Sacramento on the 21st to meet up with the Kings for the second time in the season. Prediction: Lakers 4-1.
The Lakers only have one division match-up this month on the 22nd at the Golden State Warriors. Prediction: Lakers 1-0.
The Lakers go up against the Clippers in an ‘away’ game at Staples Center of the 4th of January. The Lakers end the month in Phoenix, as they face the Suns on the 30th. It will be the first time that Nash returns to Phoenix to face his old team. Prediction: Lakers 2-0.
The Lakers face the Phoenix Suns for the third time this season at home in Staples Center on the 12th. The Lakers quickly face the Clippers, also for the third time, on the 14th at home. Prediction: Lakers 1-1.
The Lakers host the Sacramento Kings on the 17th in Los Angeles. The Lakers then hop on a plane to travel to the Valley of the Sun to face the Suns on the 19th. The Lakers head to Northern California to battle the Warriors on the 25th. They end the month on the road in Sacramento as they go up against the Kings on the 30th. Prediction: Lakers 3-1.
In the closing month of the regular season, the Lakers go against the Clippers on the 7th in their final match-up with their hallway rivals. The Lakers end their divisional games at home on the 12th against the Golden State Warriors. Prediction: 2-0.
Kobe Bryant has excelled in divisional games throughout his career with the Lakers. Last season, Bryant averaged 35.2 points, 6.0 rebounds and 5.1 assists on 50.6 percent shooting from the field per game against Pacific Division teams. Below is a breakdown of Bryant’s averages against each team in the Pacific Division from last season.
- Phoenix- 38.7 points 7.0 rebounds 4.7 assists 53.8% FG
- Sacramento- 33.5 points 6.5 rebounds 4.5 assists 47.9% FG
- LA Clippers- 32.3 points 6.3 rebounds 5.3 assists 53.1% FG
- Golden State- 36.3 points 4.0 rebounds 5.7 assists 47.5% FG
I expect Kobe Bryant to continue his stellar performance against teams in the Pacific Division this season. Additionally, I expect to see great contributions from the combination of Steve Nash, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum (or Dwight Howard if traded to Lakers). Specifically, be on the lookout for Nash to compile strong games against his old team, the Phoenix Suns. I fully expect the Lakers to position themselves on the top of the Pacific Division with a 13-3 record against teams in their own division.
For the complete schedule of the Lakers 2012-2013, click here.