As many of us expected, the Los Angeles Lakers are going to see a familiar opponent on the opening night of the NBA season: The LA Clippers. And when the league leaked that the Lakers would be facing the Dallas Mavericks on Christmas Day, the purple and gold’s opening night opponent seemed like a bit of a foregone conclusion.
Shams Charania of The Athletic broke the story:
The NBA’s tentative Dec. 22 opening night doubleheader on TNT: Nets vs. Warriors in Brooklyn and Lakers vs. Clippers in Los Angeles, sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) December 2, 2020
Look, the NBA is certainly going to get its money’s worth out of this rivalry it clearly wants to become a thing very badly — and to be fair, even if Lakers fans want to deny the Clippers the honor of being considered “rivals,” these two teams certainly don’t have any love lost for one another. The Lakers and Clippers will also play two games against each other to open up the preseason, so any beef that had gotten cold will get a quick stint in the microwave to begin the year.
But there is also another, more practical reason that this is becoming a thing: The coronavirus, and travel. Having these two teams play each other twice in the preseason and right at the start of the regular season allows two NBA teams to skip a bit of travel, and to remain in one place isolating vs. trying to set up new precautions on the road. This makes sense from a logistical perspective, too, even if the NBA is also surely pleased that this is an intriguing matchup featuring some bad blood between the two rosters in their second-largest market. And hey, if we get some fun, competitive basketball right at the start of all this as a bonus, none of us are going to complain, either.
The Lakers’ full schedule is expected to be released sometime soon. Stay tuned to Silver Screen and Roll for the latest updates.
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