Players are returning to their teams’ facilities as early as yesterday, as the NBA is getting ready to return with preseason starting December 11th and the regular season starting December 22nd. The Los Angeles Lakers always figured to be locks to be part of opening night as well as Christmas Day, the league’s most popular regular season date. It’s already been reported that the Dallas Mavericks will be facing the Lakers in primetime on Christmas Day, but we had yet to hear what opening night in the NBA would look like. We now know as the Lakers will take on their buddies, the Los Angeles Clippers (first reported by Shams Charania/The Athletic).
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) December 2, 2020
The NBA and the Lakers later confirmed the news, as Marc Stein of The New York Times adds that the Lakers’ full first-half schedule will be released this Friday. The first half ranges from the season opener to March 4th (start of the All-Star Break).
It should be a fun night, as the Lakers and Clippers will assumedly follow another anticipated matchup between Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and the Brooklyn Nets against Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, and the Golden State Warriors.
The Clippers famously did not hold up their end of the bargain on a much-anticipated playoff series last year. Nearly all NBA fans anticipated the two teams clashing in the playoffs, if not the Western Conference Finals. The Clippers needed one more win to meet the Lakers in the 2020 Western Conference Finals in the Orlando bubble, but instead, they dropped three straight to the Denver Nuggets including an embarrassing fourth quarter in Game 7 to set up the Nuggets-Lakers WCFs.
The Lakers have won the last two games that the two teams have played, including the opening seeding game of the bubble and the Lakers third-to-last game prior to the season suspension in March. Although the Clippers suffered that embarrassing loss in the playoffs, they return in this season still as one of the best teams the Lakers will face in the Western Conference, if not the best.