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Lakers will begin season with back-to-back-to-back games

Kobe Bryant

The Lakers won’t wait long for a dreaded back-to-back-to-back situation.

They are scheduled to play three games over the first three days of the season: Dec. 25 at home against Chicago, Dec. 26 at Sacramento and Dec. 27 at home against Utah.

Ho-ho-ho?

The NBA schedule has not been publicly released, but details have been obtained by The Times, including the Lakers’ frantic start.

Teams haven’t played three games in three nights since the last lockout-shortened season in 1999, but every team has at least one sequence in the upcoming 66-game season. Some teams will have two or three sets of terrible threes.

The Lakers have no other sets of back-to-back-to-backs as of now, though there might still be changes to the schedule, which will be finalized and released Tuesday by the NBA.

Adding to the Lakers’ early challenge: Andrew Bynum will serve a five-game suspension for body-slamming Dallas guard J.J. Barea in last season’s playoffs.

Christmas isn’t the only holiday on which the Lakers play. They are scheduled to travel to Denver on Jan. 1 and also play the afternoon of Dec. 31 against an unknown opponent.

The Lakers will not visit every NBA city because they play only 18 games against Eastern Conference teams this season. They will not play at Chicago, New Jersey, Charlotte, Indianapolis, Atlanta and one other team.

The Lakers travel to Boston, Miami and Orlando but don’t play the Magic at Staples Center.

They face every West team three or four times.

The Lakers have two exhibition games against the Clippers, Dec. 19 and Dec. 21.

The regular season ends April 26 for most teams, but it is unclear if the Lakers finish that day as well.

Playoffs begin April 28, about a week later than usual, and the last possible day of the NBA Finals is June 26, also about a week later than past seasons.

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— Mike Bresnahan

Photo: One year ago, Lakers guard Kobe Bryant was looking to drive against Bulls defenders Luol Deng and Joakim Noah at Staples Center. If the NBA owners and players ratify the tentative agreement they have in place, the two teams will open the season on Christman Day. Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times / November 23, 2010)

 
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