The NBA partially released its detailed schedule for the 2018-19 season Wednesday and four marquee Lakers games were among the announcements, including a Christmas Day matchup in Oakland against the Golden State Warriors.
That will mark LeBron James’ fourth straight Christmas game against the defending champion Warriors. James’ Cleveland Cavaliers teams have played the Warriors on the holiday in each of the past three seasons, all of which came after the two squads faced off in the NBA Finals the previous June. The game will tip off at 5 p.m. on ABC as the fourth of five NBA games that day.
James, a four-time NBA MVP, signed a four-year, $153 million contract with the Lakers in July.
“King James” will make his Lakers debut when the team opens its season on the road, playing in Portland against the Trail Blazers on Oct. 18. Tip-off is at 7:30 p.m. and the game will be broadcast on TNT. It will be the first time the Lakers have begun a season away from Staples Center since 2005.
James’ first Lakers game at home will come two days later, when the Lakers play the Houston Rockets on Oct. 20. The game will also start 7:30 p.m. and ESPN will broadcast it nationally in a Saturday night primetime matchup.
It marks the second time in three years the Lakers’ home opener has come against Houston, but the two teams’ rosters will look far different this time around. This game will feature three of the “Banana Boat” quartet, a group of NBA stars that came into the league at the same time and stayed close through the years: James, Rockets guard Chris Paul, Rockets forward Carmelo Anthony and Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade.
The Lakers also get a slot in the NBA’s Martin Luther King Jr. day schedule, a rematch with the Warriors at Staples. The Jan. 21 game will tip off at 7:30 p.m. on TNT.
The 2018-19 NBA season starts two days before the Lakers’ first game with an Oct. 16 doubleheader featuring the Boston Celtics vs. the Philadelphia 76ers and the Warriors vs. the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The NBA will release its full season schedule for all 30 teams on Friday.