The Los Angeles Lakers schedule for the 2023-24 season has officially been released. While it may not be as big of a deal as the NFL schedule release, it is still nice knowing what exactly the purple and gold have to go through to make a title run.
The construction of an NBA schedule absolutely can have an impact on how well a team does in the regular season. As far as the Lakers are concerned, there is a massive advantage that should help the team put together one of the best records in the league.
Some games are bigger than others with the biggest games of the year reserved for primetime in front of a national audience. Los Angeles is playing nearly half of its games on primetime (per usual) and there are certain matchups that stand out above the rest.
The 5 most important national TV games on the Lakers schedule:
5. vs Phoenix Suns on October 26 – TNT
This is the Lakers’ home opener and is going to be a heavily-watched game. Los Angeles opens the season on the road against the Denver Nuggets and instantly has to play the other premier contender in the Western Conference, the Phoenix Suns, in the second game of the season.
These two teams square off four times so the importance may not seem as high. However, this is projected to be the first LeBron-KD matchup since 2018, making it must-see TV. Because of both players’ history of not staying healthy (and the fact that it is the home opener), it gets circled as one of the five most important.
That being said, it checks in at No. 5 because the stakes are lower so early in the season.
4. at San Antonio Spurs on December 15 – ESPN
It is tough to gauge which San Antonio Spurs game is more important as the Lakers play them in back-to-back games in December. The first matchup is on December 13, however, it is the second leg of a back-to-back so we might not even see LeBron James.
Thus, the safer bet (hence why it is on ESPN) for the first LeBron vs. Victor Wembanyama matchup is on December 15. Even if this game is not as important for the playoffs, it could be legitimate basketball history right in front of our eyes and is worth watching.
3. vs Denver Nuggets on March 2 – ABC
This is the last matchup between the Lakers and Nuggets before the start of the 2023 NBA Playoffs. The playoffs will still be a month and a half away so this is not the final version of these two teams but it will be an important game nonetheless.
All roads to the NBA Championship run through Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets. Much like when the Lakers made two huge statement wins against the Bucks and Clippers in March of 2020, this could be a huge statement win that gives LA some momentum for the rest of the regular season.
2. vs Golden State Warriors on April 9 – TNT
This game could have massive playoff implications. This is the 79th game of the season for the purple and gold and it is against a team that will undoubtedly be in the playoff picture in one way or another. Heck, this could be a preview of a potential first-round playoff series between the Lakers and Golden State Warriors.
In a perfect world, this game would mean nothing as the Lakers would already have the first seed in the Western Conference locked in. But in reality, this game is going to have playoff stakes and will be in a playoff atmosphere.
1. vs Boston Celtics on December 25 – ABC/ESPN
This game may not have the playoff stakes that the Warriors game (or even the Nuggets game) will have but it is still the biggest game of the regular season for the Lakers. There is not a rivalry in basketball that is more historic than Lakers vs Celtics and it is fitting that the league gave it the grandest stage possible in the regular season.
These teams have not played on Christmas in over a decade and while it is just a regular-season game in the middle of the season, there is no doubt that Lakers fans will be getting up for this game like it is Game 7 of a playoff series.