Lakers to face Warriors on opening night, Nets on Christmas

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James, right, greets Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry after the Lakers defeated the Golden State Warriors 103-100 in an NBA basketball Western Conference Play-In game Wednesday, May 19, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Three of the marquee matchups for the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2021-22 season have been announced by the NBA.

On opening night of the new season – Tuesday, October 19 – Russell Westbrook will make his Staples Center debut in purple and gold against Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors. The Warriors, with Klay Thompson returning from his extended injury absence, are arguably the biggest threat to the Lakers’ chances of reaching the NBA Finals this season. This game will be televised on TNT at 7PM PT, following an Eastern Conference Finals rematch between the Milwaukee Bucks and Brooklyn Nets.

The Lakers will end opening week by hosting the Phoenix Suns for the first time since being eliminated by them in the first round of the playoffs. The Suns are returning their core players from their Finals run and have included former Lakers center and champion JaVale McGee. The anticipated rematch is on Friday, October 22 at 7PM on ESPN.

Lastly, the Lakers, as is often the case, will be hosting the marquee Christmas Day matchup, facing the Eastern Conference favorite Brooklyn Nets at 5 PM PT on ABC and ESPN. The two sides did not play with a full loaded cast of stars last season but with most fans expecting them to meet in the NBA Finals, seeing them face off on the biggest day of the NBA regular season calendar is a no-brainer. The Nets have largely returned the same roster with Kevin Durant, fresh off a strong Olympics showing, leading the way alongside James Harden and Kyrie Irving. Blake Griffin and Joe Harris are other difference makers while Jeff Green and Spencer Dinwiddie are no longer on the roster.

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