The 2017-18 season is an imperative one for the Los Angeles Lakers. The franchise has amassed an excellent group of young players who could be poised for big things and fans are hoping for another jump after last year’s 26-win season.
Whether they will be able to challenge for a playoff spot in the loaded Western Conference remains to be seen, but now that the schedule is starting to be leaked out, the road they will have to travel is becoming clear.
In particular we now know how the Lakers will get things started as according to Brad Turner of the L.A. Times they will host the crosstown rival Clippers in their season opener:
Lakers and Clippers will meet opening night, and it's a Lakers home game on Oct 19, per source.
— Brad Turner (@BA_Turner) August 10, 2017
This is an interesting match-up for the Lakers and should provide a very good test for Luke Walton’s squad. Rookie point guard Lonzo Ball will be thrown right in the fire as he will have to go head-up with top defender Patrick Beverley. It’s also worth noting that the Lakers will be without Kentavious Caldwell-Pope as he is suspended for the first two games of the year.
Opening night has been a bit of a mixed bag for the Lakers recently. The franchise has split their last eight opening night games, but last season’s victory over the Houston Rockets was one of the best moments of the season and the kickoff to an impressive 10-10 start to the year. They will undoubtedly be looking to repeat that beginning this coming season.
The date of this opener is also worth noting as the NBA has decided to start the season a week earlier in an attempt to prevent player fatigue and injury as well as stop teams from resting players for the league’s marquee games. Among other steps the NBA has taken are reducing the number of back-to-backs and single-game road trips, as well as increasing the number of weekend games.