Format For 2020-21 NBA Season Brings Changes To Usual Lakers Schedule
NBA: Utah Jazz at Los Angeles Lakers
Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers will play three games against each Western Conference opponent during the 2020-21 NBA season as the league officially announced the campaign’s structure and format.

Within its division, L.A. will twice face the Golden State Warriors and Phoenix Suns and play games against the L.A. Clippers and Sacramento Kings.

Each NBA team will play 42 intraconference and 30 interconference games in total. Within each team’s division, the NBA has randomly assigned which two opponents will be played twice at home, and which on the road.

All teams from a division will additionally play another intraconference division twice at home, facing teams from the remaining division twice on the road.

The Lakers will face Northwest Division teams at home twice and play two away games against their Southwest Division opponents.

The All-Star break is set to take place between Mar. 5 and Mar. 10, 2021, although with no All-Star Game planned. The playoffs are scheduled to begin on May 22.

The regular-season schedule is yet to be unveiled and it will be released in two segments: the first part around the start of training camps and the second toward the halfway point of the 2020-21 season.

In case a game has to be rescheduled during the first part of the season, it can be added to the second half’s schedule.

Free agency is starting Thursday, though contracts cannot be signed until Sunday morning. The Lakers are said to have an agreement in principle with the Oklahoma City Thunder on a trade that would see Dennis Schroder join the defending NBA champions in exchange for Danny Green and the No. 28 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft.

Play-in tournament details

The NBA has also announced that a play-in tournament will decide each conference’s last two seeds for the playoffs.

After the conclusion of the regular season, teams occupying the seventh and eight spots will face off for their conference’s No. 7 seed. The losing team will then play the winner of the clash between teams with the ninth and 10th-highest winning percentages.

Similarly as in the case of the play-in tournament implemented in the Orlando bubble — which ultimately paired the Portland Trail Blazers with the Lakers in the first round of the playoffs — the teams with a higher regular-season winning percentage will only have to win one play-in game to clinch a playoff spot.

Those with a lower winning percentage in each conference will have to win two consecutive play-in games to advance.

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