Lakers headline NBA schedule with 42 games on national networks – Daily Bulletin

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It remains to be seen how far the Lakers can go in the postseason with their new power trio of LeBron James, Russell Westbrook and Anthony Davis.

One thing is already clear: They’re a headlining act.

The NBA has pushed the Lakers front and center in the upcoming 2021-22 regular season, the first 82-game schedule the league is hoping to complete since the 2018-19 season. After playing 71 games in the 2019-20 bubble season and 72 games in the pandemic-shortened 2020-21 season, the Lakers will be plastered all over national TV in the league’s return to a traditional calendar.

Given the team’s brand and star power, it’s not much of a surprise that the Lakers are again one of the starring attractions of the NBA: They’re scheduled to appear on TNT 13 times, more than any other NBA team, and they’ll be on ABC five times and on ESPN 13 times.

The Lakers already have secured prime spots on opening night on Oct. 19 (against the Golden State Warriors) and Christmas (against the Brooklyn Nets and Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving). They’ll also host the Utah Jazz on Martin Luther King Jr. Day on NBA TV, one of a dozen times when they’ll appear on that network.

The Lakers begin the season with a home-friendly schedule, playing 12 of their first 15 games at Staples Center, which will welcome L.A. native Westbrook to his hometown franchise. In the early going they’ll see Golden State, Phoenix and Memphis before cooling off into a slate of six consecutive games against teams that missed the playoffs last season.

Things truly start getting interesting in November, when the Lakers travel to Milwaukee for the first tilt between the 2020 champions and the 2021 champion Bucks and Giannis Antetokounmpo. That’s quickly followed by a trip to Boston, then to Detroit to face No. 1 overall draft pick Cade Cunningham before going to New York to face newly extended former Lakers draft pick Julius Randle and the Knicks.

Some other key dates:

• The Lakers visit Oklahoma City on Oct. 27, as Westbrook returns to the city where he spent his first 11 seasons.

• The Lakers start their four-game series with Staples Center co-tenant Clippers on Dec. 3, with follow-ups on Feb. 3, Feb. 25 and March 3.

• Former Laker point guard Dennis Schröder returns to Staples Center on Dec. 7 with the Celtics, which is sure to be an interesting affair after a somewhat unexpected split after his one season in purple and gold.

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