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Lakers' 2015-16 schedule includes eight-game December road trip

Lakers' 2015-16 schedule includes eight-game December road trip
Lakers guardKobe Bryant tries to steal the ball from Clippers forwardBlake Griffin during a game at Staples Center on Feb. 14, 2013. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

The Lakers will start the 2015-16 season at home on Oct. 28, playing host to the Minnesota Timberwolves, and the opener at Staples Center is expected to showcase the top two picks in this summer's NBA draft.

The Timberwolves had the No. 1 pick and selected 6-foot-11 center Karl-Anthony Towns, while the Lakers surprised many by taking 6-foot-5 Ohio State point guard D'Angelo Russell at No. 2.

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The NBA on Wednesday released its full schedule for next season, which includes the Lakers playing host to the Clippers on Christmas Day at 7:30 p.m.

Kobe Bryant, who played only 35 games due to injuries last season and turns 37 later this month, is recovering from shoulder surgery but will return for a 20th season with the Lakers.

Outside of Bryant, the Lakers are generally a young team, and they'll be tested early in the season with 22 of their first 33 games on the road.

December will be especially challenging, as the Lakers face an eight-game trip over 12 days that concludes with games at San Antonio on Dec. 11 and at Houston on Dec. 12.

The schedule evens out in January as the Lakers play 12 of 17 games at home, and in March, with 12 of 15 at Staples Center.

The Lakers will play the Dallas Mavericks, Portland Trail Blazers, New Orleans Pelicans and Timberwolves three times each during the season, with four meetings apiece against the remaining teams in the Western Conference.

The Lakers will play one set of four games in five nights (leading into their December trip) and they'll play 18 pairs of back-to-back games, up from 16 last season.

Despite the team's struggles last season -- a 21-61 record -- the Lakers are still a TV draw and will have nine appearances apiece on TNT, ESPN and NBA-TV, although the team will get only one showing on ABC, when they play the Golden State Warriors on March 6.

Should the 2015-16 season prove to be the final one of Bryant's career, he might bow out at Staples Center on April 13 in the regular-season finale against the Utah Jazz -- unless, of course, the Lakers make the playoffs.

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