Lakers, Clippers are set for opener
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.