The Los Angeles Lakers will play four preseason games, the NBA announced in a press release on Friday. The defending champions will begin the exhibition slate with two games against their Staples Center co-tenants, the LA Clippers, on Dec. 11 and 13, followed by two games against Chris Paul, Devin Booker and the new-look Phoenix Suns on Dec. 16 and 18.
Here is a look at the league’s full schedule of preseason games:
The Lakers start the preseason on Dec. 11. pic.twitter.com/xI2sErsCrC— Harrison Faigen (@hmfaigen) November 27, 2020
The Lakers just confirmed that these games will be shown on Spectrum SportsNet pic.twitter.com/5M6eDABZ0R— Harrison Faigen (@hmfaigen) November 27, 2020
For context on how quick of a turnaround this is for the Lakers, they won the championship on Oct. 11, which means they will begin training camp (Dec. 1) less than two months after finishing the prior season, and will play their first preseason game on the exact two-month anniversary of their victory. There is truly no rest for the best.
As a result of that rapid turnaround, don’t expect to see LeBron James, Anthony Davis or any of the Lakers’ other title contributors a whole lot during these exhibition games — even by preseason standards. It would genuinely not be surprising to see James sit out the entire thing, even if he will ultimately (likely) play at least a few minutes.
In other words: Get ready to see how much Talen Horton-Tucker has used these last few weeks to work on his game!
The league gave more details on its preseason slate in its release, as well as an update on the rest of the schedule:
Each NBA team will play a minimum of two and a maximum of four games as part of the league’s 49-game preseason schedule. Every team will play at least one home game and one road game in the preseason. The national television schedule for preseason games will be announced at a later date.
The 2020-21 regular season will tip off on Tuesday, Dec. 22 and feature 72 games for each team. As previously announced, the regular-season schedule will be released in two segments. The schedule for the First Half of the season (Dec. 22, 2020 – March 4, 2021) will be released in the coming days.
The schedule for the Second Half of the season (March 11 – May 16, 2021) will be released during the latter part of the First Half portion of the schedule. The Second Half schedule will include the remainder of each team’s 72 games not scheduled in the First Half as well as any games postponed during the First Half that can reasonably be added to the Second Half schedule.
That last part is fairly ominous, but also a reality of the pandemic the United States and rest of the world are currently weathering. And even though the Lakers are playing the maximum number of preseason games, don’t be surprised to see the NBA give them a bit of a break when the full schedule is announced, at least in the first half, as an acknowledgement of how quickly they’re having to ramp back up again after winning the title. This is all happening very fast, so expect the Lakers to be extra cautious with their stars’ minutes as a result, both for the preseason, and beyond.