With Kobe Bryant officially retired, the star power that has been around the Los Angeles Lakers for years is now gone. With that, there have been some questions as to whether the Lakers will make as many national TV appearances this season.
The Lakers have long been a mainstay on Christmas Day, and it looks as if that will remain and they will also get a little chance at revenge.
According to Matt Moore of CBS Sports, the Lakers will play the Clippers on Christmas Day for the second straight year:
Bulls-Spurs and Clippers-Lakers on Christmas.
Dwyane Wade is never going to spend Christmas at home.
— Matt Moore CBS (@MattMooreCBS) August 11, 2016
Last season the Lakers fell to the Clippers 94-84 in the final game on the Christmas Day slate, but only after the Clippers survived a massive run from the Lakers in the fourth quarter. The Lakers outscored the Clippers 27-9 in the fourth quarter on that night but ultimately couldn’t complete the comeback.
This squad will be a much different one this season, however, as D’Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson will lead the young Lakers in their first year post-Kobe. The team has added some veterans in Timofey Mozgov, Luol Deng, and Jose Calderon, as well as rookies Brandon Ingram and Ivica Zubac.
The Clippers return the majority of the same roster that finished 53-29 but ultimately was undone by injury problems in the playoffs. The rivalry between the two L.A. teams has grown over the last couple of years as the Clippers have surpassed the Lakers on the court for the first time in the history of these franchises.
The schedule is set to be released very soon, and the Lakers’ opponents will be officially named, but it is good to see that the Lakers will remain in some high-profile games.