The schedule for the upcoming NBA regular season is expected to be fully released just days from now, and it is one that Los Angeles Lakers fans will be closely analyzing.
The nature of the Lakers’ schedule will mean a little more than it did the previous couple of seasons because the team is now considered a legitimate championship contender.
Two details of that schedule have already been leaked. It has been revealed that the Lakers will begin the regular season in Colorado versus the Denver Nuggets, the team that swept them out of the Western Conference Finals a couple of months ago. They will have to watch the Nuggets get their championship rings, something that will surely motivate them.
On Friday, two other big matchups for the Lakers were leaked.
The Lakers’ home opener will be a showdown
Two days after starting the season in Denver, the Lakers will return home to Crypto.com Arena and host the new-look Phoenix Suns.
The Suns are a dramatically different team than they were seven months ago. In early February they traded a king’s ransom for Durant, who is still one of the league’s best players but is now 34 and injury-prone. Weeks ago, they continued their makeover by jettisoning Chris Paul and bringing in three-time All-Star guard Bradley Beal.
While some are picking Phoenix to come out of the Western Conference, others are skeptical it can make it work with a very unbalanced and top-heavy roster.
The battle of Los Angeles
Over the past 10 years or so, the Lakers have had lots of trouble defeating the Los Angeles Clippers. In fact, the Clippers have won each of their last 11 contests versus the Purple and Gold.
James and crew will get their first crack at ending that losing streak on Nov. 1 when they face the Clippers for the first time in the 2023-24 regular season.
The Clippers have been title contenders, not to mention the darlings of the national media, over the last four seasons. But due in part to injuries, they only have one trip to the Western Conference Finals to show for all the high expectations during that time span.