Lakers NBA schedule: 10 can't-miss games involving LeBron James and Anthony Davis for 2019-20 regular season
A look into Anthony Davis' return to New Orleans, the highly-anticipated Lakers-Clippers rivalry and much more
The NBA schedule has officially arrived, and that means that it is time to start circling dates on the calendar. For most teams, that means preparing for a few key dates against established opponents, but for a team like the Los Angeles Lakers, virtually every night features a marquee game simply because they are in it.
Almost every team has some sort of preexisting rivalry, anticipated return or bizarre personal beef with the Lakers this season, and that is going to turn their season into a traveling circus every time they step on the hardwood. Still, a few games manage to stand out. Here are the 10 most exciting games on the Lakers' schedule for the 2019-20 season.
1. Lakers vs. Clippers
- Tuesday, Oct. 22: at Clippers, 10:30 p.m. ET
- Wednesday, Dec. 25: at Lakers, 8 p.m. ET
- Tuesday, Jan. 28: at Lakers, 10 p.m. ET
- Sunday, March 8: at Clippers, 3:30 p.m. ET
Forget about the Lakers' schedule, the battles between these two teams are the most anticipated in all of basketball. The league knew it, and placed their first two matchups on its two most-watched regular-season dates. Game no. 1 will come on opening night, and the Lakers will have a distinct advantage with Paul George still recovering from shoulder surgery. Their Christmas rematch should level the playing field, and these games will set the tone for a potential rematch in the Western Conference Finals.
2. Lakers vs. Pelicans
- Wednesday, Nov. 27: at New Orleans, 9:30 p.m. ET
- Friday, Jan. 3: at Los Angeles, 10:30 p.m. ET
- Tuesday, Feb. 25: at Los Angeles, 10 p.m. ET
- Sunday, March 1: at New Orleans, 8 p.m. ET
There are too many storylines to count here. Anthony Davis, Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Josh Hart all get to play against their former teams. LeBron James will try to exact his revenge on David Griffin after some critical offseason comments, just as Zion Williamson will no doubt attempt to grab the torch from James as the face of the league. Even if the Pelicans aren't a playoff team, these matchups are appointment television.
3. Lakers vs. Rockets
- Saturday, Jan. 18: at Houston, 8:30 p.m. ET
- Thursday, Feb. 6: at Los Angeles, 10:30 p.m. ET
- Thursday, March 12: at Los Angeles, 10:30 p.m. ET
Last year's matchups featured five total ejections in two different games, three separate suspensions, one all-out brawl and a partridge in a pear tree. Some of the principal figures that formed last season's palpable disdain are now gone, but even without Chris Paul and Brandon Ingram, there is still plenty of bad blood between these two sides after the Lakers were forced to defend James Harden with their hands behind their backs as a message to the officials. Throw Russell Westbrook into the mix and these games will be heated.
4. Lakers vs. Warriors
- Wednesday, Nov. 13: at Los Angeles, 10 p.m. ET
- Saturday, Feb. 8: at Golden State, 8:30 p.m. ET
- Thursday, Feb. 27: at Golden State, 10:30 p.m. ET
- Thursday, April 9: at Los Angeles 10:30 p.m. ET
It seems as though people have forgotten that James played against Stephen Curry and Draymond Green in the NBA Finals twice before Kevin Durant arrived. That alone makes this exciting game, but the presence of former Laker D'Angelo Russell only adds gasoline to the fire.
5. Lakers vs. Kings
- Friday, Nov. 15: at Los Angeles, 10:30 p.m. ET
- Saturday, Feb. 1: at Sacramento, 10 p.m. ET
- Saturday, April 4: at Sacramento, 10 p.m. ET
- Tuesday, April 14: at Los Angeles, 10:30 p.m. ET
The Kings already had a massive inferiority complex when it comes to the Lakers, and that developed when Luke Walton was a player rather than their head coach. The Kings are too young to challenge James and Davis right away, but eventually, this is going to grow into a bitter rivalry as players like De'Aaron Fox and Marvin Bagley approach their primes.
6. Lakers vs. Nets
- Thursday, Jan. 23: at Brooklyn, 8 p.m. ET
- Tuesday, March 10: at Los Angeles, 10:30 p.m. ET
Kevin Durant may not be playing yet, but the Nets are well on their way towards establishing themselves as the Eastern Conference's biggest brand. The Lakers have held that title in the West for decades, and the league is salivating at the opportunity for a championship series between teams based in New York and Los Angeles over the next few years. These matchups will be more interesting with Durant back next season, but Kyrie Irving's relationship with James is enough to kick things off on the right foot this year.
7. Lakers vs. Thunder
- Tuesday, Nov. 19: at Los Angeles, 10:30 p.m. ET
- Friday, Nov. 22: at Oklahoma City, 8 p.m. ET
- Saturday, Jan. 11: at Oklahoma City, 8 p.m. ET
- Sunday, April 5: at Los Angeles, 9:30 p.m. ET
Rajon Rondo and Chris Paul famously dislike each other. LeBron James and Chris Paul famously like each other. So long as Paul is playing for the Thunder rather than a big-market contender, rumors about him eventually landing with the Lakers will persist. Rondo's reaction to that a year after those two threw punches at one another is going to be a sight to behold.
8. Lakers vs. Bucks
- Thursday, Dec. 19: at Milwaukee, 8 p.m. ET
- Friday, March 6: at Los Angeles, 10:30 p.m. ET
James learned his lesson about public tampering with Anthony Davis, so he is unlikely to say anything about Giannis Antetokounmpo's upcoming free agency, but with his brother Kostas now on a two-way deal in Los Angeles, the speculation will drive plenty of interest for these games. That this is also a potential NBA Finals preview is just the cherry on top.
9. Lakers vs. 76ers
- Saturday, Jan. 25: at Philadelphia, 8:30 p.m. ET
- Tuesday, March 3: at Los Angeles, 10 p.m. ET
Another potential Finals preview, but one with far more history attached. The Lakers and Sixers have met in the Finals four times and produced such legendary moments as Magic Johnson playing all five positions and Allen Iverson stepping over Tyronn Lue. Animosity will exist between these fanbases forever over those championships. Speaking of which…
10. Lakers vs. Celtics
- Monday, Jan. 20: at Boston, 7:30 p.m. ET
- Sunday, Feb. 23: at Los Angeles, 3:30 pm. ET
The Celtics have lost some luster over the past few months, but simply seeing those green and gold uniforms on the same court brings out so many memories that these games will always matter, regardless of who is actually playing in them. It's not as if the Celtics are slouches either. They will be a playoff team in the Eastern Conference, and likely one that fights for home-court advantage.
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