Last week the NBA released its 2012-13 schedule of games, or, as I like to call it: Christmas in July. The Los Angeles Lakers will open up their 2012-13 campaign against the Dallas Mavericks, in addition to playing the New York Knicks on Christmas Day. Below are the 10 best games of the 2012-13 season.
October 30th, 2012: Mavericks @ Lakers
The Lakers open their 2012-13 campaign at home against the Dallas Mavericks. Steve Nash will make his Lakers debut against former teammate and best friend, Dirk Nowitzki, and the new look Mavericks. Both the Lakers and Mavs will look much different than the teams who took home the 2010 and 2011 championships, respectively. The Lakers now boast the likes of the aforementioned Nash, as well as former all-star Antawn Jamison. The Mavs said goodbye to Jason Terry and Jason Kidd and welcomed the likes of youngsters O.J. Mayo and Darren Collison. It will be fun to see both teams start their journey in hopes of making it back to the top of the Western Conference.
November 2nd, 2012: Clippers @ Lakers
In only the third game of the season, the Lakers rekindle their crosstown rivalry with the Clippers, which reached unprecedented heights last season.
The Clippers had arguably their best season in franchise history in 2011-12, led by Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. The team finished with a 40-26 record, good enough for fifth in the always tough Western Conference. The Clippers sudden improvement, combined with a small step back for the Lakers, had Angelinos legitimately arguing which team was better for the first time since Hector was a pup. The result was three physical, closely contested basketball games.
Next season’s slate of Lakers-Clippers games should be just as hotly contested.
[lakersnation_player file=”http://youtu.be/exTGO-m5tp8″ autostart=”false”]
December 7th, 2012: Lakers @ Thunder
This will be the Lakers first shot at the Oklahoma City Thunder since Kevin Durant and Co. eliminated the purple and gold from last spring’s postseason. Many believe the Lakers are back in the conversation as one of the top teams in the Western Conference, with the addition of Steve Nash at point guard and a seemingly improved bench. This will be their first chance to test their luck against the reigning conference champs in the crazy confines of Chesapeake Energy Arena.
December 25th, 2012: Knicks @ Lakers
At this point in the season, fans will be getting a feel for how Steve Nash is meshing with his Laker teammates. Also, fans will be treated to two of the league’s most storied franchises squaring off on Christmas Day.
January 17th, 2013: Heat @ Lakers
The defending champion Miami Heat make a visit to Staples Center in what will be the first must-see game for the Lakers in 2013.
Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Ray Allen, Pau Gasol and Chris Bosh possibly on the hardwood all at the same time.
If the Lakers have one of the top two records in the West before their showdown with the Heat, this game will have people talking about it being a possible NBA Finals preview.
January 30th, 2013: Lakers @ Suns
Steve Nash will be making his first visit to Phoenix wearing purple and gold. The Suns, who Nash almost single-handedly made a power house franchise upon his return in 2004, will likely play one of their most motivated, intense games of the season, playing against their former teammate.
We should all start taking bets now on how long of a standing ovation Nash will get from the fans in Phoenix during pregame introductions.
[lakersnation_player file=”http://youtu.be/JSNcoyU7Tks” autostart=”false”]
February 5th, 2013: Lakers @Nets
In the midst of their annual Grammy road trip, the Lakers will be playing their inaugural game in Brooklyn, taking on the Deron Williams and the Nets.
Like most crowds in opposing arenas, the faithful in Brooklyn will likely bring their “A” game with the Lakers in town. The Nets will also likely be one of the most, if not the most, improved team in the league next season, led by Williams, Brook Lopez, and the newly acquired Joe Johnson.
While this game may not be the best game to watch, something tells me it will be one of the more fun games of the season… because we all know the Black Mamba will be looking to leave his teeth marks in Brooklyn for the first time.
February 7th, 2013: Lakers @ Celtics
This game against the Celtics won’t be as anticipated nearly as much as the ones from 2008-2010 were, when the two teams played one another two times in three years in the NBA Finals. But it’s still Lakers versus Celtics, arguably the best rivalry in all of sports.
March 12, 2013: Lakers @ Magic
Just days before the trade deadline the Los Angeles Lakers will make a visit to Central Florida to play the Orlando Magic. Hopefully by then, but probably not, the Dwight Howard drama will have been solved or at least simmered a little.
However, if the Dwight drama is still in full swing, accompanied with the game being so close to the trade deadline, the lead-up to the game will result in tons of trade rumors and fodder for message boards, considering the Lakers have consistently been one of the teams mentioned in Howard possibly being traded to.
Will Howard even be a member of the Magic by next March? Could he possibly be wearing purple and gold by then? If he is playing for the Magic, will it be one of his last games with the team? Is it possible him and Andrew Bynum could essentially swap jerseys just days after this mid-March showdown?
April 14th, 2013: Spurs @ Lakers
There are three things certain in life: death, taxes, and the Lakers and Spurs being powerhouses in the Western Conference. With the two teams playing this close to the end of the season, the outcome of this game could have an impact on playoff seeding in the conference.