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Lakers' 2011-12 schedule features many challenges

December 6, 2011 |  4:22 pm

Kobe Bryant

The Lakers may hardly feel in the holiday spirit.

That's because their 66-game schedule starting Christmas Day features something more depressing than receiving coals in their stockings. They open the regular season with three games in consecutive nights: Dec. 25 at home against Chicago, Dec. 26 at Sacramento and Dec. 27 at home against Utah. That coincides with Andrew Bynum serving a five-game suspension for flattening Mavericks guard J.J. Barea in the playoffs.

The Lakers will play 20 of their 66 games on consecutive nights. They have a 10-day, six-game trip in February with stops in Denver (Feb. 3), Utah (Feb. 4), Philadelphia (Feb. 6), Boston (Feb. 9), New York (Feb. 10) and Toronto (Feb. 12). Their holiday schedule also remains busy with a home game New Year's Eve at 12:30 p.m. against Denver followed by a rematch in Denver on New Year's Day at 5 p.m.

Because of the shortened season, the Lakers will play only 18 games against Eastern Conference teams, meaning they won't play in Chicago, New Jersey, Charlotte and Indianapolis. The Lakers will travel to Boston, Miami and Orlando, but the Magic won't play at Staples Center.

Despite a compressed schedule, the Lakers will appear regularly on national television. TNT features the Lakers in nine broadcasts, NBA TV will show 10 games and ESPN/ABC will air 15 games. Lakers fans may also want to circle these dates: Jan. 16 (vs. Dallas), Jan. 19 (at Miami), Feb. 23 (at Oklahoma City). The NBA playoffs begin on April 28 and the last possible game of the NBA Finals will be on June 26. 

And then let's not forget Dec. 19 and Dec. 21, when the Lakers play the Clippers at Staples Center in preseason games.


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--Mark Medina

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