Earlier today, the NBA released its schedule for the 2011-2012 season. While the lockout is still lingering with no end in sight, FB&G reached out to bloggers around the league to see which Lakers match ups they’re most looking forward to seeing. Outside of the obvious games against the Heat and the Celtics, we’ve compiled a short list of games that stood out to us on the schedule.
Daniel Buerge | Lakers Nation | Twitter
Vs. The Oklahoma City Thunder, Opening Night, Nov. 1
The release of the NBA schedule is bittersweet this season as the league is currently gridlocked in a nasty CBA debate. That being said, there are still plenty of exciting games that we will hopefully get to see this upcoming season. While the schedule is littered with exciting games against the best teams and players in the world, one game stands above the rest; opening night. Even though there won’t be a ring ceremony this season, the first night of NBA basketball is always a welcome sign. To make matters even better, the Lakers are facing a team that reached the Western Conference Finals last season in the Oklahoma City Thunder. What better way to prepare you for the NBA season than Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and the rest of the Thunder? While the game is only the first of 82, opening night still signifies the return of the NBA, and lets all the fans know that there will be basketball to watch for the next nine months.
Emile Avanessian | Hardwood Hype | Twitter
@ The Charlotte Bobcats, Dec. 9
On Tuesday afternoon (or morning, depending on your coast), the NBA released its schedule for the 2011-12 season. As usual, as far as the Lakers are concerned, there is no shortage of intriguing, high profile matchups. While I’ll be tuned in for every game against the Mavericks, Heat, Thunder, Bulls, Celtics and Spurs, another matchup caught my eye as I was spending some quality time with the schedule. As innocuous as it appears roughly a quarter of the way down the 82-game list, the Lakers’ December 9 visit to Charlotte encapsulates virtually every bugaboo of the past decade.
Beyond the baggage this team will drag into every arena in the coming season- new coach/system, advancing age, concerns about depth, an indifference to many games that is nothing short of uncanny- the Lakers have won just twice in seven tries at the Time Warner Cable Arena, one of those by a single point against the Bobs’ 2004-05 expansion squad. And while the 2011-12 Bobcats squad is hardly a contender, the roster is not short on legitimate NBA-caliber talent. Toss in the fact that the game will be the Lakers’ fifth in eight nights, with four of those on the road, and takes place the night after their lone visit of the regular season to South Beach, and that Friday in North Carolina begins to look especially treacherous.
Even when winning championships, this is exactly the type of game that Laker teams of the recent past have made a habit of losing. Given the humiliating end to last season and the clear fact that this will be a Laker team at a crossroads, this win would be hugely encouraging.
J.D. Hastings | FB&G | Twitter
Vs. The Toronto Raptors, Dec. 13
It’s a grey evening after a lazy day at the pre-Christmas office. I make myself dinner and relax while watching a local broadcast on league pass between the Lakers and average opposition. These are the moments that define winter to me. I don’t ask for the moon, NBA, please just grant me this.
Nick Flynt | Clipper Blog | Twitter
@The Dallas Mavericks, Dec. 15
Usually, I find the idea of regular season NBA grudge matches ridiculous. There aren’t many rivalries in the NBA, either at the individual or team level. But when TNT airs an early-season match-up between the Lakers and the Mavs, there’s no way I’m not getting excited. You’ve got the possibility of a superstar duel between Kobe and Dirk, the TNT We Know Drama factor of a playoff rematch (the Lakers should be able to find some regular season passion to get at least a measure of revenge for that sweep, right?) and what should simply be a good, close game between two talented teams, storyline or no.
Bryan Crawford | From The Go | Twitter
Vs. The Chicago Bulls, Christmas Day, Dec. 25
If there is a 2011-2012 season, then the game I’m most looking forward to is the Lakers vs. Bulls on Christmas Day. Last year Chicago played in New York on Christmas, this year, they get to go to LA; which is cool because I was tired of seeing LeBron vs. Kobe anyway.
Conrad Kaczmarek | Fear The Sword | Twitter
Vs. The Phoenix Suns, Feb. 17
As a huge fan of the NBA in general, I always enjoy seeing great teams play. Although I have no allegiance to the Los Angeles Lakers, they are one of the teams that consistently provides excellent entertainment for basketball fans. As far as entertainment value goes, my mind immediately goes back to the ridiculous 139-137, triple overtime game against the Phoenix Suns. Looking at the schedule for next season, the February 17th match-up against the Suns stands out to me. These two teams seem to always engage in great, up-tempo contests. The fact that it will happen right around the trade deadline means Dwight Howard and Steve Nash rumors will be in full force. It may not be against the Heat or Celtics, but the Suns-Lakers match-ups never disappoint.
Eddie Maisonet | Ed The Sports Fan | Twitter
“@” The Los Angeles Clippers, Apr. 4
Mark this date on the calendar and mark these words as they are written. The Los Angeles Clippers will welcome the Lakers into THEIR arena, Staples Center, and win the season series in the city of Angels. Now I realize its somewhat blasphemous to talk crazy about the Lakers on FB&G, however with the talent on the Lakers either hitting their apex or on a downward trend and the Clippers talent being stocked up and nowhere close to their prime…they’ve got a real shot. Blake Griffin won the rookie of the year without a real post move, Eric Gordon might be the best young two-guard in the league, (think about it) and youngsters like Deandre Jordan, Al-Farouq Aminu, and Eric Bledsoe are laying the foundation for the future. Can the old guard in purple and gold hold the fort one more year? Kobe and Co. are not going to go down swinging, and the 4th of April will be must see TV.
Phillip Barnett | FB&G | Twitter
Vs. The San Antonio Spurs, Apr. 17
One of the coolest things about being an uncle is watching your nephew grow up and become a sports fan. On April 17th, my nephew will turn four and will be as impressionable as ever. I haven’t taken the little fella to a Lakers game yet, so I’m thinking a game against the only franchise that has rivaled the Lakers in winning pedigree over the last 15 years would be great for his first. There’s no telling how much longer Tim Duncan is going to play, so I’d love to catch this one live so my nephew will be able to say that he saw some of the greatest ball players ever on the same court in an epic Lakers/Spurs match up that will likely have playoff implications.