Most notable games from Lakers 2022-23 regular season schedule

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)

Everyone’s full and complete expectations for the 2022-23 Los Angeles Lakers continue to remain on standby given the situation across the country in Brooklyn involving the Nets, Kevin Durant, and Kyrie Irving.

We’re halfway through the second month of Durant’s trade request with no immediate end in sight still. It’s been reported many times that Kyrie Irving — with the Lakers seemingly being the only trade suitor — will not be dealt until and unless Durant is dealt.

However, the NBA calendar won’t stop, even while the fate of two (three if you include Russell Westbrook) of its most popular and talented stars’ future teams remain up in the air. Because of that, the NBA had an awkward task of completing and releasing its 2022-23 regular season schedule. They’ve finally completed that task and, to the best of my abilities, I’m going to mark what will be the most notable games in the full schedule which you can find here.

Lakers at Warriors – 10/18/22 (Opening Night)

(Previously reported before the full schedule was released)

The Lakers will kick off their season by facing the defending champions.

Yes, despite the fact that the Lakers did not make the play-in tournament as an 11-seed, they will receive the honor of being in attendance for the Warriors’ ring ceremony on Tuesday, October 18th. Again, who knows who will be flanking Anthony Davis and LeBron James on this night. But given the ceremony, the still-relevant LeBron vs. Steph Curry rivalry, and the fanbases of both teams that don’t like each other… this is sure to be a fun way to start the season. It also gives the added bonus of new Lakers addition Juan Toscano-Anderson getting his championship ring on opening night with his former Warriors teammates.

Lakers vs. Clippers – 10/20/22

(Previously reported before the full schedule was released)

It surely won’t be an easy start to the season no matter who or who isn’t on the Lakers roster come October. After the Lakers play the defending champs, they’ll turn their sights towards a game at Arena against their across-the-hall rivals: the Clippers.

Interestingly enough, depending on Kawhi Leonard’s status (he should be available), this could be the first time the two teams have had their two best players in the same game against each other since the December 22nd, 2020 season opener.

Although the Lakers have the most important edge in this “rivalry” that basically started with the 2019-20 season in the form of a championship, the Clippers have defeated the Lakers in their last 7 games against each other with the Lakers’ last win coming in the seeding games of the 2020 bubble in Orlando.

Lakers at Mavericks – 12/25/22 (Christmas Day)

(Previously reported before the full schedule was released)

This is probably the most interesting and puzzling Christmas Day matchup the Lakers have had since LeBron joined in 2018. To be honest, it’s probably this way because of the continued uncertainty with the Nets and Lakers’ situations.

But still, you could do worse than a sort of “passing of the torch” matchup that includes LeBron in his 20th season and the rapidly ascending Luka Doncic.

Lakers vs. Rockets (01/16/23 – Martin Luther King Jr. Day)

Other than Christmas Day and opening night, Martin Luther King Jr. Day has become a prominent day on the NBA calendar in recent years. It usually features some special jerseys the teams have for the season as well as a stacked slate of marquee matchups as the league properly honors one of the most influential and important Black people in America’s history, something that makes sense for a league that is predominantly Black.

In this MLK Day game, the Lakers will face the Houston Rockets at home.

At Nets (01/30/23), vs. Wizards (12/18/22)

Now, I group these two together because they both revolve around a possible three-team trade between the Lakers, Nets, and [INSERT TEAM WHO COULD ABSORD RUSSELL WESTBROOK’S CONTRACT HERE]. Obviously, with Kyrie Irving on the Lakers, a visit to Brooklyn would be tantilizing given the not-so-warm welcome Kyrie would almost certainly face.

As for why I list the Wizards here, well, you tell me another team that would sign Westbrook if he were to be bought out? Reports continue to insist that Westbrook will be bought out by whatever team may trade for him, with my personal opinion being that his recent home in Washington would again be his new home. That one game the Wizards (or whoever has Westbrook on their team) play in Los Angeles would be… raucous… to say the least.

Lakers vs. Suns (04/07/23)

This game could be important in the same way that games down the final stretch of last season against the Pelicans were important. However, I’m picking a game against Suns because they will almost certainly be jockeying for a middle-of-the-pack, if not high seed in the Western Conference and, well, let’s hope the Lakers are too!

Vs. Celtics (12/13/22) and at Celtics (01/28/23)

These games could go one or two ways, with little probability of Lakers fans leaving it happy.

One way is that Kevin Durant isn’t dealt, either at all this upcoming season or at least not by the time of one of these games. The reigning champs of the Eastern Conference then take it to the Lakers in both contests (with Westbrook or without him if they complete a different deal involving him than the Kyrie one).

Or, the team does get Kyrie with Lakers fans reinvigorated with the idea of seeing how their potential future champions stack up against the stupid green team from Boston who nearly won the franchises 18th last year. But if the Lakers have Kyrie, that probably means the Celtics have Kevin Durant. It would be pretty upsetting to get back into the realm of championship contention only to run into the buzzsaw of the team’s bitter rivals with one of the best players on the planet.

No matter what happens, you have to circle the Celtics on the calendar.

Lakers at Bucks (12/02/2022)

(Previously reported before full schedule was released)

You may be surprised to see this game on here, but I do think it’ll be substantial. It has a personal connection to it now, as it will be head coach Darvin Ham’s first return to the place where he served as an assistant coach, winning a championship in 2021.

In addition to the sentimental angle, the Bucks will almost assuredly be a top three team in the Eastern Conference if not a top three team in the entire league. It will be a nice test for the Lakers, if they are actually to compete for a championship this upcoming season.

At Pelicans (2/4/23) and at Suns (11/22/22)

I’m grouping these two games against these two annoying teams together.

Coincidentally, these two met in the first round of the 2022 NBA Playoffs with the Suns barely getting out alive via a victory in Game 6.

Both have some bad blood with the Lakers, whether it’s the Pelicans in an organization and fan-base sense stemming from the Anthony Davis trade and the Suns in a player sense given some residual bad blood that’s remaining from the 2021 NBA Playoffs series between the teams that included a lot of trash talk.

Although the Celtics rivalry will always remain supreme, I believe these two matchups actually carry more weight for the players on the court in 2022 in terms of pure hate existing between the two sides.

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