Lonzo Ball and the Lakers will open the NBA season by hosting Blake Griffin and the Clippers at Staples Center on Oct. 19 during a series of marquee games over four nights that were announced Thursday.
The Golden State Warriors begin their title defense on opening night, Oct. 17, in the second game of a nationally televised doubleheader on TNT against James Harden, Chris Paul and the Houston Rockets.
The first game of the season is a matchup of Eastern Conference rivals as the Cleveland Cavaliers host the Boston Celtics at 5 p.m. This will be the NBA’s earliest start to the regular season since Oct. 10, 1980.
The Lakers will be part of the five-game Christmas Day schedule, which is highlighted by the Warriors-Cavaliers game at noon PST on ABC, when they host the Minnesota Timberwolves at 7:30 p.m. That game will be televised on TNT
The rest of the Christmas schedule: Philadelphia, playing on Dec. 25 for the first time since 2001, is at New York for a 9:30 a.m. tip-off on ESPN; Washington travels to Boston in the Celtics’ first Christmas home game at 2:30 p.m. on ABC; Oklahoma City and reigning MVP Russell Westbrook host Houston at 5 p.m. on ABC.
The NBA moved up the start of its 72nd regular season in hopes that teams will not have to rest players as often during games. The complete schedule will be announced next week.