Wednesday, June 10, will mark three months since the Los Angeles Lakers played their last game; it was a 104-102 loss to the Brooklyn Nets at Staples Center, following a two-game stretch where the Lakers beat the Milwaukee Bucks and LA Clippers back-to-back.
Their next game will likely be played on July 31, when the NBA is expected to restart its season at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando. While the official schedule won’t be released until after the NBA’s Board of Governors have voted on Adam Silver’s proposal, Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports reported that teams will likely play the next eight games on their regular season schedule.
The plan is for teams to continue their schedule as planned, with the next 8 games. If team is scheduled to play Hawks/Bulls/Pistons, it moves onto the next game on schedule, league sources tell Yahoo Sports— Vincent Goodwill (@VinceGoodwill) June 3, 2020
If that holds true, here are the teams the Lakers will play once the season resumes:
- Houston Rockets
- Denver Nuggets
- Utah Jazz
- Utah Jazz
- Toronto Raptors
- Washington Wizards*
- Indiana Pacers
- Sacramento Kings*
There are a few things that should be noted before we continue. The first is that the games against the Washington Wizards and Sacramento Kings are subject to change because their games against the Lakers are later on their schedule, so without changes, the Wizards and Kings would play more than eight games. That’s unlikely to happen.
The second is that the Jazz suck, and Anthony Davis deserves to be the Defensive Player of the Year. Now that we have that covered, let’s move on.
The Lakers only need to win three games to clinch the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference because of the eight game schedule. Of the seven teams they’re expected to play when the season resumes, they’ve beaten five of them at least once. The Raptors and Pacers are the only two teams the Lakers haven’t beaten this season.
Under normal circumstances, the Lakers’ stars would get some rest before the start of the postseason, but these regular season games will be crucial to getting everyone back into game shape, and the stars are no exception. Outside of conditioning purposes, these games aren’t expected to mean anything for the Lakers — the real draw is the rest of the Western Conference.
Of course, there’s the potential play-in tournament for the No. 8 seed, but there’s also a ton of shuffling still to be done for the teams seeded 2-7. For example, if the Rockets finish the season strong, the Lakers could play them in the second round, as opposed to the Jazz or Oklahoma City Thunder, both of which are teams they’ve gone undefeated against this season. Comparatively, Los Angeles is 1-1 against Houston this season.
There are still details that need to be ironed out, but one thing’s clear: even under unique circumstances, the Lakers’ quest for their 17th title in franchise history promises to be exciting.