Can you feel it? With the full release of the NBA schedule on Wednesday, the Los Angeles Lakers are inching closer and closer to tipping off the 2022-23 season. The Lakers schedule has some unique and usual tidbits this year.
It’s no surprise that the Lakers will have 39 games nationally televised, including three of their first four games of the season. The 39 games are just behind the Golden State Warriors, who have 42, the most in the league.
One of those nationally televised games for Golden State is on Opening Night against the Purple and Gold. The Warriors will also receive their 2022 championship rings before the game. However, playing an opening road game is a rarity for the Lakers.
They’ve only played away from Los Angeles to tip off the season once in the last 10 seasons when L.A. played Portland for LeBron James’ debut. The Lakers will also be on the road for Christmas, just the second time in the last 10 seasons and the first since 2018.
A different tidbit to L.A.’s schedule is the new addition of what the NBA calls “rivalry week,” via The Athletic:
Rivalry Week is the newest addition to the NBA schedule this season.
It will take place the week of Jan. 23 with these 11 nationally-televised matchups:
◽️ LA-BOS pic.twitter.com/9qR568fy6j
— The Athletic NBA (@TheAthleticNBA) August 17, 2022
The Lakers will face the Clippers during rivalry week first, then the Boston Celtics. The Celtics are often referred to as the Purple and Gold’s biggest rival. However, in recent years the Clippers and Lakers have engaged in fiercer battles at Crypto.com Arena.
Kawhi Leonard and Paul George joining the Clippers at the same time Anthony Davis joined the Lakers created natural tension. The two franchises had memorable meetings during the 2019-20 season, including on Christmas and Opening Night.
While Laker fans may not acknowledge the Clippers as rivals, members of the Clippers haven’t shied away from calling it just that. John Wall said the rivalry between the two franchises has been one-sided recently. Clippers owner Steve Ballmer went as far as to say he hopes the Clippers overtake the Lakers in popularity.
Whether or not that will actually happen, rivalry week is the most recent addition to the NBA schedule. The Play-In Tournament, which was the most recent before the rivalry week, became a huge success for the league. Now, they hope the same can be said for this.
The Lakers will tip off rivalry week against the Clippers on Jan. 24, 2023.
Pau Gasol’s No. 16 jersey will be retired on March 7
What is usually reserved for when a player enters the Hall of Fame will be broken this season. Pau Gasol will have his jersey retired against the Memphis Grizzlies on March 7.
The Lakers typically wait for a player to be inducted into the Hall of Fame before retiring their jersey. But, it’s evident Gasol will enter it one day, therefore, the Lakers are jumping the gun.
Gasol was “beyond thankful and honored” to have his jersey retired alongside Laker greats
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