The 2020-21 NBA season will be unlike any other due to the ongoing pandemic and that trickles all the way down to the schedule. Different from normal, the NBA released the 2020-21 schedule in two phases.
The change is in effort to give themselves room to re-schedule games that have to be postponed due to the pandemic. Overall, the Los Angeles Lakers and the rest of the league will play 72 games instead of 82.
For the Lakers, the beginning pieces of their schedule have already begun to leak out. On Opening Night — December 22 — they will host the rival L.A. Clippers. It’s unclear if the Lakers will raise their championship banner or receive rings prior to the game.
And on the NBA’s flagship date, Christmas Day, the Lakers will host rising superstar Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks.
But now the rest of the first half schedule has been officially released so everyone can begin marking their calendars. The Lakers will make 15 national TV appearances, including seven on ESPN, six on TNT, and three on ABC.
What is most notable is that due to the condensed nature of the schedule, the Lakers don’t have more than two days off between games at any point during the first half of the schedule.
The NBA has also clearly tried to reduce travel as much as it can, opting to have teams face off twice in a row as opposed to splitting their matchups. This is the case for the Lakers in their road trips to San Antonio (December 30 and January 1), Memphis (January 3 and 5) and Houston (January 10 and 12) as well as a home pairing with Oklahoma City (February 8 and 10).
Lakers 2020-21 schedule highlights
As far as the Lakers’ marquee matchups, there are plenty. A Western Conference Finals rematch with the Denver Nuggets happens a couple of weeks earlier on February 4. Then will come an NBA Finals rematch with the Miami Heat on February 20 in Los Angeles and air on ABC.
The Lakers will also be featured on Martin Luther King Day when they host the Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors on January 18.
Their longest road trip of the first half will take place at the end of January. That trip begins in Milwaukee against MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks on January 21 and also includes stops in Philadelphia on January 27 and Boston for the always anticipated rivalry game against the Celtics on January 30.
The road trip concludes in Atlanta against Rajon Rondo and the revamped Hawks on February 1.
Other notable matchups are the Portland Trail Blazers on December 28, the New Orleans Pelicans on January 15, and the returning Kevin Durant and the Brooklyn Nets on February 18.
The Lakers will take care of all of their matchups against the Spurs, Pistons, Thunder, and Bulls in the first half of the season.
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