The NBA formally announced portions of their schedule and games for several of their headlining dates, including Opening Night of the 2018-19 season, Christmas Day, and Martin Luther King Jr. Day. As was reported Tuesday, the Los Angeles Lakers face the Golden State Warriors on Christmas.
It marks a fourth consecutive year LeBron James will face the Warriors under the holiday backdrop, during which he went 1-2 in those games while with the Cleveland Cavaliers. A win this season would be James’ first at Oracle Arena on Christmas. Tip off is set for 5 p.m. PT.
Since playing each Christmas since the 1999-2000 season, this is only the fourth time the Lakers have spent the holiday away from Staples Center. Previous instances were road games on Christmas against the Miami Heat in 2005 and 2006, and the Chicago Bulls in 2014.
As for James’ Lakers debut (excluding the preseason), that comes Thursday, Oct. 18, on the road against the Portland Trail Blazers. Not only do James and the Lakers not begin the season at home, they aren’t playing Opening Night (Oct. 16).
Those games instead went to the Boston Celtics-Philadelphia 76ers and Oklahoma City Thunder-Warriors.
The Lakers and Trail Blazers last met for a season-opener on Oct. 28, 2008, which Los Angeles won, 96-76, at Staples Center. The Lakers haven’t begun a season on the road since facing the Denver Nuggets on Nov. 2, 2005.
L.A. will play their home opener Saturday, Oct. 20, when they face Chris Paul and the Houston Rockets. The game will air nationally on ESPN at 7:30 p.m. PT. It’s a third time in the past five seasons the Rockets are the opponent for a Lakers’ home opener.
On MLK Day (Jan 21, 2019), the Lakers host the Warriors at 7:30 p.m., with TNT broadcasting the game.
The NBA will announce the full 2018-19 schedule on Friday.