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NBA releases 2018-19 schedule: LeBron James is back in Cleveland on Nov. 21; Clippers open on Oct. 17

While LeBron James and the Lakers already knew they were opening the season on the road against the Portland Trail Blazers on Oct. 18, they found out Friday they’ll make their only visit to Cleveland to face James’ former team on Nov. 21.

Clippers faithful learned their team will begin the 2018-19 season at Staples Center against the Denver Nuggets on Oct. 17.

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The NBA revealed its 82-game regular-season schedule for all 30 teams Friday during a nationally televised show, and it has the Lakers playing a league-high 31 games on national television.

The Lakers will play their first regular-season game at home Oct. 20 against the Houston Rockets. James, who signed a four-year, $153.3-million contract to join the Lakers, will play his first home game against Cleveland on Jan. 13.

James, who faced Golden State the last four years in the NBA Finals with the Cavaliers, will face the Warriors four times this season, starting with a Christmas Day game on ABC in Oakland. All Lakers-Warriors games will be on national TV.

The longest road trip for the Lakers is in February, when the Grammy Awards come to Staples Center. The Lakers will travel to Golden State, Indiana, Boston, Philadelphia and Atlanta over a 12-day span.

The longest homestand for the Lakers will be four games over nine days in January against Golden State, Minnesota, Phoenix and Philadelphia.

The Lakers will play 13 sets of back-to-back games.

The Clippers, who were a big TV attraction when they had Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, will play just three games broadcast nationally on TV.

The Clippers, who play four of their first six regular-season games at home, have 14 sets of back-to-back games.

The longest road trip for the Clippers is six games over 11 days in February against Detroit, Toronto, Charlotte, Indiana, Boston and Minnesota.

The longest homestand for the Clippers is six games over 12 days in March against Oklahoma City, Boston, Portland, Chicago, Brooklyn and Indiana.

The Clippers will face Griffin for the first time at home since he was traded to the Pistons on Jan. 12.

The Clippers will face Jordan, who spent all 10 years of his career with L.A. before signing with Dallas Mavericks this summer, for the first time at Staples Center on Dec. 20 . Jordan will see the Clippers first Dec. 2 in Dallas.

In other games of note, Kawhi Leonard, who forced his way out of San Antonio in a trade that was highlighted by Toronto shipping DeMar DeRozan to the Spurs, will face his old team for the first time when his new Raptors squad goes to Texas on Jan. 3.

Conversely, DeRozan, who was upset with how the Raptors handled the trade that sent him to the Spurs, will play in Toronto for the first time Feb. 22.

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The talented Boston Celtics, with a healthy Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward as well as a supporting cast of Jaylen Brown, Al Horford and Jayson Tatum, will host the Philadelphia 76ers and their gifted duo of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons in the season opener Oct. 16.

The NBA also noted that back-to-back games will be at an all-time low for the fourth consecutive season, with teams averaging 13.3 back-to-back sets in 2018-19. For the second consecutive season, no team will play four games in five days.

4:15 p.m.: This article has been updated with more details about the upcoming season for the Lakers and Clippers.

This article was originally published at 2:15 p.m.

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