Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant will take the floor against each other on Christmas day when the Los Angeles Lakers take on the Chicago Bulls, the 2014-15 NBA Schedule announced. In this file photo, the pair play together against the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on December 16, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia.
For the 2014-15 NBA season, the Los Angeles Lakers schedule calls on the purple and gold to feature on the NBA’s opening night, Halloween, Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Christmas.
To say that Kobe Bryant’s return is not meaningful is to utterly ignore the marketing impact of having no. 24 back on the court wearing purple and gold. He’s back, and as long as the Black Mamba is bouncing a ball for the Los Angeles Lakers, the NBA will continue to spotlight the team on the biggest basketball days of the season. In all, the Lakers are nationally televised on 28 occasions.
Opening night pits Bryant against former teammate Dwight Howard. The game will take place in Los Angeles, and that should make for a frenzied fan atmosphere. Howard’s every action will predictably draw jeers, and every Bryant jump shot will warrant loud applause. Although Howard’s time in Los Angeles is long gone, fans will never forget the disappointment of Howard’s wholly worthless season wearing purple and gold.
Howard provided the perfect example of a polar opposite of Bryant. Bryant’s time in Los Angeles is nearing two full decades. Howard barely made it one season. Bryant is the personification of the Lakers’ brand--a jersey in the rafters and a statue out in front of Staples Center. Howard bailed after one season and left anyone who compared the center to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar or Wilt Chamberlain shivering at the thought of uttering those words. Ultimately, Los Angeles hates Howard as much as it loves Bryant, and that sentiment should be clear on Oct. 28.
Opening night cannot come soon enough.
After playing the Suns on Oct. 29, the Lakers will host the Los Angeles Clippers on Halloween. That budding local rivalry will repeat on three different occasions. The Lakers will again play hosts on Apr. 5, and the Clippers will paint the floor red and blue for the LA-only affair on Jan. 7 and Apr. 7.
Other dates to circle on the calendar are Nov. 14, when the world champion San Antonio Spurs come to visit Los Angeles, and Jan. 15, when LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers march into Staples for their only visit to Lakerland.
Of course, the Lakers and Celtics rivalry is worth noting, as well. The Lakers will play hosts to the green leprechauns on Feb. 22. Meanwhile, the trip to Boston will come about the usual time: Dec. 5.
The Lakers’ longest road trip of the 2014-15 season comes in March when the Lakers take off on a five-game trip through Oklahoma City, Minnesota, Toronto, Brooklyn and Philadelphia. The Lakers are not plagued by a marathon Grammy road trip like seasons past. In the two previous seasons, the Grammy trip was seven straight games away from home in February. The longest road trip in February of 2015 will be four games.
However, the Lakers do play 16 back-to-backs, so this schedule is hardly a walk in the park. Scrutinizing 82 games, though, every NBA schedule contains obstacles.
To wrap up the season, the Lakers will play a home and away set with the Sacramento Kings. The Lakers’ 2014-15 regular season will conclude on Apr. 15, 2014 at Staples Center (Click For Lakers' Full Schedule).