While the NBA drags its feet in releasing the schedule, reporters around the league have spent much of the last few days leaking individual dates for the coming season’s contests. The dates for the four Lakers and Clippers games were amongst those reported, and perhaps surprisingly, none of the contests are on marquee dates this season.
Yahoo Sources: Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers will square off on following dates for 2022-23 NBA season:— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) August 16, 2022
Oct. 20 on TNT (Lakers home)
Nov. 9 on ESPN (Clippers home)
Jan. 24 on TNT (Lakers home)
April 5 on ESPN (Clippers home)
The Oct. 20 game was previously reported and will be two days after the Opening Night game where the Lakers take on the Warriors in Golden State. Outside of that, though, the other three games come on fairly innocuous dates, even if they may also end up being broadcast on national television.
In years prior, the Lakers and Clippers have played on Opening Night, Christmas Day and as the first game back inside the bubble in the COVID restart in Orlando. But many of those marquee games did not feature much of the quartet of Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
It may be that reasoning for the league not putting these two teams back on a marquee date again. It could also simply be a league preference to place other young stars in those positions as well.
There’s also the fact that this game will draw eyes of fans regardless of the date or time. It’s an established rivalry that is going to do well in the ratings and the league can place it anywhere and it’ll be popular.
As for the games themselves, being spread out seems like the better alternative than last season when the two sides played three times from Feb. 3 to March 3. If there are some sort of injury issues — dear god I’m knocking on wood — not having a stretch of games in a row against the Clippers, a team that they’ll likely be jostling for playoff position against, is nice.
To that point, Anthony Davis missed two of those previously mentioned three games in a month due to injury. In that sense, it’s a positive regardless of the exact date on which the game is played.