The Los Angeles Lakers will take on the Brooklyn Nets in the NBA’s marquee Christmas Day game, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The NBA is announcing the league’s national television schedule for the 2021-22 season on August 17th, and Wojnarowski teased some of the holiday matchups a bit early.
“Plenty of discuss on The Jump at 3 PM ET today with unveiling of Christmas Day games, including, sources say: Trae Young and Atlanta Hawks returning to play the New York Knicks at MSG,” Wojnarowski explained on Twitter. “Plus, battle of the East-West titans: The Brooklyn Nets vs. the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples.”
The Lakers will also open up their preseason schedule by hosting the Nets on October 3rd at 3:30 p.m. Los Angeles will become very familiar with Brooklyn in what is sure to be a popular NBA Finals prediction. New Lakers point guard Russell Westbrook will square off against his former teammate Kevin Durant.
“It’s surreal,” Westbrook said about joining the Lakers, per ESPN. “I think it still hasn’t hit me yet, being from L.A., growing up not too far from here and being able to watch the parades — try to go to them, try to miss school to try to go to them. Being a Laker fan and being from L.A., but now everything coming full circle for me.”
LeBron Will Play in His 15th Christmas Day Game
James playing on Christmas Day has become a holiday tradition with the 2021 matchup marking the 15th time the superstar has played on December 25th. The Nets-Lakers contest will be the 14th straight time James has played on Christmas, per Sports Illustrated.
Prior to last season’s Christmas matchup against the Mavericks, James discussed his excitement for playing on the holiday. This year’s game should feel a bit different as fans are expected back in the arenas for the 2021-22 season.
“On Christmas, you know that you’re going to have that Christmas feeling,” James noted in December 2020, per Sports Illustrated. “There’s going to be a lot of celebrities at the game. There’s going to be a lot of excitement. People have opened their gifts, and everyone is excited. It’s the day of giving for a lot of us.
“And then being in Staples Center, I’ve had an opportunity to play here on Christmas as a Laker, and also as an opponent. It’s a beautiful feeling being here, but it’s not the same without the Laker faithful, without the fans and without celebrity row and without the bright lights. It’s a totally different feeling. It’s strictly basketball, which is fine. But our game is entertainment as well. And when you’re out there, you’re hoping to entertain some people live as well.”
The Lakers Will Tip-Off the 2021-22 Season vs. Warriors on October 19: Report
The Lakers season will be full of intriguing matchups, especially with the revamped roster featuring more star power given the addition of Westbrook. The Athletic’s Sam Amick reported the Lakers will begin the season against the Warriors in a primetime TNT matchup on October 19th.
“Per league source, the 75th regular season will tip off on @NBAonTNT like this on Oct. 19… * Brooklyn at Milwaukee * Warriors at Lakers. Yes, please…,” Amick tweeted.