Top 10 Lakers games to look forward to in the 2021-22 season

Dec 18, 2020; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) against Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) during a preseason game at Phoenix Suns Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Slowly but surely, we are approaching the 2021-22 NBA season. The season will be the 75th in the NBA’s long history, and it will hopefully be equally as historic for the Los Angeles Lakers as they try to win their 18th championship, breaking the tie they currently have with their rivals, the Boston Celtics.

We finally know what that season will look like for the Lakers and the 29 other teams in the Association, as the NBA released the full 2021-22 regular season schedule today Below, we’ve highlighted the top 10 games/matchups to look forward to as LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Russell Westbrook try to bring the Larry O’Brien trophy back to L.A.

10. Chicago Bulls – Nov. 15th – Home game

As the Lakers only have four players who will be returning from last year’s team, there will be plenty of visits to Staples Center from old teammates. However, they’ll all pale in comparison to the visit the Lakers will receive on November 15th when Alex Caruso plays in L.A. for the first time in a jersey that’s not purple-and-gold. We’ll also get our first look at the new Bulls who now have Caruso, DeMar DeRozan, and another former Laker, Lonzo Ball.

9. Oklahoma City Thunder – Oct. 27th – Away game

You might be thinking, “Why did this guy put the lowly Thunder on here?”. Well, it’s for no other reason other than our new superstar, Russell Westbrook. We’re only on Westbrook’s third season out of Oklahoma City, a place he spent 11 seasons playing.

The team has given him gracious, emotional receptions any time he’s been back, but what will happen when the Lakers bring him to town? I’m not expecting any jeers towards Westbrook, but I’m definitely expecting a wild and weird environment where Westbrook dunks may be met with cheers while LeBron dunks could be met with boo’s.

This will also only be the Lakers’ 5th game this season, so we’ll still be figuring out how everything all fits together at this point.

8. New York Knicks – Nov 23rd. – Away game

I don’t really have much to say about this one, but did you see how raucous and insane Madison Square Garden was during the Knicks’ first round playoff series against the Hawks? I fully expect the Knicks to be just as good as last season, and their fans will probably be even more behind them after last season’s success. Expect the “boo birds” to be out as the New York Knicks’ finest fans welcome LeBron, Davis, and Westbrook the The Big Apple.

7. Golden State Warriors – Oct. 19th – Home game

Here’s an obvious one in the opening night game against the Warriors. The Lakers plan to be in a position to be the number one seed in the Western Conference once the playoffs come around, but could the Warriors possibly make a run to return to the top of the conference?

This game should feature the return of Klay Thompson, who missed all of the 2020-21 season due to the torn ACL he suffered against the Raptors in the 2019 NBA Finals. His return should, at the very least, get the Warriors to a spot higher than this past season which saw them left out of the main 2021 NBA Playoffs after losing to both the Lakers and Grizzlies in the play-in tournament.

Of course, this will also be the first regular season game featuring our brand spankin’ new “big three”.

The game will follow the Nets-Bucks game which will effectively open the season.

6. Los Angeles Clippers – Dec. 3rd and Feb. 3rd – Home then away but…you know

I don’t have much to say about this one either. Kawhi Leonard will definitely not play in the first game due to his weird, ACL injury this past season. It’s likely he misses the second game as well, so hopefully, the Lakers beat down their “rivals” both times.

5. Phoenix Suns – Oct. 22nd – Home game

This will be the 2nd game of the season for the Lakers following their opener against the Warriors.

And yes, if you’re noticing a lot of home games to start the season, you’re very astute. If you take a peek at the schedule, 12 of the first 15 games for the Lakers will all be in Staples Center.

In this one, they’ll take on the team that beat them in six games in the first round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs. The new Lakers guards will have another formidable test following their game against Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, as they’ll have to corral Chris Paul and Devin Booker yet again. It would be nice to follow up an opening night win against the Warriors with some quick, sweet revenge against the Suns who TOTALLY didn’t face a bunch of hobbled, injured Western Conference teams on their way to losing in the 2021 NBA Finals.

4. Miami Heat – Nov. 10th and Jan. 23rd – Home then away

Two of the next three matchups are against teams in the Eastern Conference, with this one also being a team from the coast opposite of the Lakers. We’ll get our first look at how Kyle Lowry fits in with his new teammates, less than a year after the Lakers were heavily rumored in 2021 trade talks for the All-NBA point guard.

This is also, of course, another rematch of the 2020 NBA Finals. The Heat will definitely be formidable this season as Lowry joins Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, as the team could give the Bucks and the Nets a run for their money in the East (more on those two teams later).

3. Utah Jazz – Mar. 31st – Away game

The Lakers only have six games remaining on their schedule after this one, and this could be a big one. The Jazz were the number one seed in the Western Conference last year, with the team still in a position to compete for the same seed this year. This game — in the very unfriendly confines of Utah — could end up being very impactful to the seeding of these two teams down the stretch.

The Lakers actually have a few, tough road games to conclude their season that could all have ramifications for seeding. In three of their final four games, they will pay visits to the Suns, Warriors, and the Nuggets.

2. Milwaukee Bucks – Nov. 17th and Feb. 8th – Away then home

This matchup could arguably be as important and exciting as the next Eastern Conference foe I bring up. And hell, it should be as the Lakers will visit the reigning champion Bucks in Milwaukee in mid-November, finishing their season series much later in the season.

When the Lakers were at full strength in the 2019-20 season, their two matchups against the Bucks were two of the best games of the entire regular season. The 2nd of which was part of the weekend where the Lakers also beat the Clippers, right before the season was suspended in light of COVID-19.

1. Brooklyn Nets – Dec. 25th and Jan 25th – Home then away

This will probably be the two most anticipated games of the NBA season for both of the two fan bases in this matchup, as well as anyone who’s an NBA fan. With both teams being the favorites to win their respective conferences and the six huge superstars involved, both of these games should be circled on everyone’s calendar.

The first one won’t be hard to remember, obviously, as it’ll be the Lakers’ Christmas Day game. They’ll then play the Nets in Brooklyn only a month later.

Make notes in your calendars, ladies and gentlemen! Only a couple of months until the Lakers kick things off!

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