The 2019-20 NBA schedule has finally been released and everyone now knows exactly when the Los Angeles Lakers will be facing all of the other top teams in the league.
Of course, there are always certain games that are circled on the calendar as meaning just a little bit more.
Be it a rivalry game, another All-Star player coming into the building, or a player making a return to his previous home, there are some games that just have a little more energy.
As a result, here are the top-10 Lakers games to watch:
Lakers @ Los Angeles Clippers: Oct. 22
The NBA wasted no time in pairing these two teams whom many consider the favorites in the Western Conference. Staples Center will be rocking on Opening Night as James and Davis face off against Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. The 82-game season will be long, but whoever wins this first game will get the early leg up on their Los Angeles rivals.
Lakers vs. Clippers: Dec. 25
It’s the biggest day of the NBA calendar and the Lakers will have the prime spot on the lineup. At this point, it should be clear where each team stands but once again, Staples Center will have all eyes on it as the Lakers and Clippers battle and continue to build their crosstown rivalry.
Lakers vs. New Orleans Pelicans: Jan. 3
The first game at Staples Center for Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, and Josh Hart and all three should receive a great ovation from the crowd. They will undoubtedly be looking to prove the Lakers should’ve kept them and show up Kyle Kuzma at the same time. Oh, and there’s some kid named Zion Williamson who will be making his debut there, too.
Lakers @ Pelicans: Nov. 27
That rousing ovation that Ingram, Ball, and Hart likely will receive at Staples Center? Wouldn’t count on that for Anthony Davis back in New Orleans. He demanded a trade in the middle of the 2018-19 season and essentially sabotaged the Pelicans in the eyes of many with how he handled his request. This could be an atmosphere not seen since LeBron James returned to Cleveland for the first time.
Lakers @ Boston Celtics: Jan. 20
Fans really don’t need to say anything other than it’s Lakers vs. Celtics as it’s the league’s greatest rivalry. Last season brought one of the best moments for the Lakers with Rajon Rondo‘s game-winner in Boston and both teams have high hopes. With Kemba Walker now, things will continue to ratchet up between these two sides and let’s just be honest, there is just no better feeling than beating the Celtics.
Lakers vs. Golden State Warriors: Nov. 13
The Warriors will look much different than the last few seasons, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t still a dangerous team. Anytime Stephen Curry is on the floor, it’s must-watch and with former Laker D’Angelo Russell joining him in the backcourt, there is even more intrigue surrounding them and more reason for them to be motivated to beat the Lakers.
Lakers vs. Milwaukee Bucks: Mar. 6
2018-19 NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo is a must-watch player and the Bucks are looking to take that next step and make the 2020 NBA Finals after falling just short last season to the Toronto Raptors. Things have gotten chippy with these teams over the last couple seasons and this could be a potential Finals preview if things fall right.
Lakers vs. Portland Trail Blazers: Jan. 31
These teams were separated by just one point in four games last season including Moe Harkless sending the Lakers to the offseason with a buzzer-beater in the final game of last season. These two teams seemingly always put on great games when they meet and both know they will need to get through the other to reach their ultimate goals.
Lakers vs. Houston Rockets: Feb. 6
James Harden and Russell Westbrook are reunited and many consider them — along with the Lakers — as the two most talented duos in the league. They have been the team in the Western Conference to push the Warriors the most over the last two seasons and with Westbrook now in the fold, it could be their time to make that leap. This is a battle of two teams looking to take over that Western throne.
Lakers vs. Denver Nuggets: Dec. 22
Speaking of teams looking to take over the Western throne, some have forgotten the Nuggets had the second-best record in the conference. Nikola Jokic is one of the best big men in the league and him versus DeMarcus Cousins will be must-watch by itself. Continuity means something and the Nuggets have that more than the other teams and they would love to establish themselves against the Lakers.