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Lakers to reportedly play Nuggets on Opening Night of 2023-24 season

In a Western Conference Finals rematch, the Lakers will travel to Denver to play the Nuggets to kick off the 2023-24 season.

Denver Nuggets v Los Angeles Lakers - Game Four Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

If you thought the Lakers-Nuggets budding rivalry was going to fade into the background, then think again. After being swept by them in the Western Conference Finals, the Lakers won’t have to wait long for revenge on the Nuggets.

The two teams will kick off the 2023-24 season on Opening Night on TNT, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.

That means the Lakers get to watch the Nuggets receive their rings to start the season. The flip side to that is those nights are typically quite emotional and the defending champions often lose those contests, but it’ll be a steep challenge for the Lakers right out of the gate.

The rivalry between the two teams is a very recent one, stemming almost entirely from the playoff meeting between the two. And, in reality, it’s been a pretty one-sided rivalry as well, on and off the court.

On the court, the Nuggets swept the Lakers. While each game was close and a battle to the end, that matters little when the end result is the same.

Off the court, Denver sure turned up the heat and amplified this rivalry time and time again. Despite coming in as the heavy favorites and the No. 1 seed, the Nuggets bizarrely employed a “nobody believes in us" strategy, spearheaded by Michael Malone (who definitely doesn’t have a burner account or seven on Twitter).

To their credit, they won. And winners get to boast and brag, which Denver did plenty of. At the championship parade, Malone threw a jab at LeBron and was presented as “the Lakers’ daddy.” It was enough to finally elicit a response from the Lakers, who had remained surprisingly silent during everything, as LeBron posted an on-brand subtle response on his Instagram.

At that point, it was probably locked in that these two teams were going to meet on a marquee stage next season. With the contest taking place on Opening Night, that probably — though not definitely — means the team will have a different marquee opponent on Christmas Day as well. But that’s a debate for another day with the focus now being on both starting the season off right and amping this rivalry up a little bit more in the process.

You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.

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