Details on the schedule for the Los Angeles Lakers have been made public, meaning we finally know when fans will be able to see LeBron James play in purple and gold at Staples Center. The date: October 20. The opponent: James Harden and the Houston Rockets. It’s all becoming more real.
The Lakers made an official announcement about this and their season opener, a bout with the Portland Trail Blazers at the Moda Center (read: Rose Garden. Come on, Portland. At least do that right).
The matchups for Opening Week, are set! #LakeShow presented by @Delta pic.twitter.com/mr7mlifn1m— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) August 8, 2018
Ben Cafardo of ESPN has more details on LeBron’s Staples Center debut.
.@ESPN will televise @KingJames' @Lakers home-opener on Saturday, Oct. 20 at 10:30 p.m. ET against @JHarden13 & the @HoustonRockets. Full Christmas and opening week schedule here: https://t.co/GoKC9kh1cm— Ben Cafardo (@Ben_ESPN) August 8, 2018
This will be the third time in five years that the Lakers have faced Houston in their home opener. In 2016, they surprised Houston with a 120-114 win behind Jordan Clarkson’s 25-point effort. You’ll always have that moment, Jordan.
It might surprise some that with all eyes on LeBron and the Lakers that the league would have this as the matchup and not, say, the Golden State Warriors or Boston Celtics. But instead, the schedule makers opted to have the Lakers and Warriors face off in two other marquee games: Christmas and Martin Luther King Day.
Houston will have quite a few new pieces to try to make work on their end, too.
Former Laker Trevor Ariza signed with the Phoenix Suns this summer. Luc Richard Mbah A Moute is once again a Clipper. They were replace by James Ennis and Carmelo Anthony. In a game against LeBron, one would probably prefer to have some more defensive ability on the wing, but hey, do you, Daryl Morey.
I also find it somewhat interesting that the Lakers will be playing against Chris Paul (who was famously a Laker for all of about 20 minutes after the 2011 lockout) with all the excitement of James’ home debut. Paul is a tough matchup for Lonzo Ball, so that will be fun to watch as well.
Ticket prices on this game will also be something to watch. They will most assuredly be insanely high given the occasion, but whether they reach some of the heights we’ve seen before will be fascinating.
Come on, August. Go by faster. At least September offers preseason games to hold us over.