Lak­ers, Clip­pers are set for opener

Los Angeles Times - - SPORTS - Staff and wire re­ports — Brod­er­ick Turner

Lonzo Ball and the Lak­ers will open the NBA sea­son by host­ing Blake Grif­fin and the Clip­pers at Sta­ples Cen­ter on Oct. 19, part of a se­ries of mar­quee games over four nights that were an­nounced Thurs­day.

Kevin Du­rant and the Golden State War­riors be­gin their ti­tle de­fense Oct. 17, the NBA’s ear­li­est open­ing night since 1980, when the sea­son opened Oct. 10. In the sec­ond game of a na­tion­ally tele­vised dou­ble­header, they’ll face James Harden, Chris Paul and the Hous­ton Rock­ets.

The opener is a matchup of last sea­son’s East­ern Con­fer­ence fi­nal­ists, the Cleve­land Cava­liers tak­ing on the Bos­ton Celtics.

The Lak­ers will be part of a fiveg­ame Christ­mas Day sched­ule, host­ing Jimmy But­ler and the Min­nesota Tim­ber­wolves at 7:30 p.m.

The mar­quee game of the hol­i­day sched­ule will be a Fi­nals re­match be­tween the War­riors and Cava­liers in Golden State.

The rest of the Christ­mas sched­ule: the Philadel­phia 76ers, play­ing on Dec. 25 for the first time since 2001, against the New York Knicks; the Bos­ton Celtics, host­ing a Christ­mas game for the first time, against the Wash­ing­ton Wiz­ards; and the Ok­la­homa City Thun­der, fea­tur­ing reign­ing most valu­able player Rus­sell West­brook, fac­ing the Rock­ets.

The NBA moved up the start of its 72nd reg­u­lar sea­son, thereby ex­tend­ing the sea­son by about two weeks, in hopes that teams will not have to rest play­ers as of­ten dur­ing games.

The com­plete sched­ule will be an­nounced next week.

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