NBA 2021-22 season schedule: Key dates for Clippers, Lakers

NBA 2021 22 season schedule Key dates for Clippers Lakers
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After a pandemic-interrupted 2020 was followed by last season’s abbreviated, 72-game schedule, the NBA on Friday passed a new milestone toward normalcy by doing something once completely ordinary: issuing the league’s standard, 82-game schedule.

For the Clippers, who are coming off an appearance in the franchise’s first conference final but remain unsure when injured star Kawhi Leonard will return from surgery on his right knee, the 2021-22 season begins with the Oct. 21 opener at Golden State, on TNT. It’s one of 27 games to be broadcast on national television and the first of nine games shown on TNT, including games Feb. 3 and March 3 against the Lakers.

Six of their games will be ESPN broadcasts, including the two other matchups against the Lakers on Dec. 3 and Feb. 25.

The Lakers are scheduled for a league-high 13 appearances on Turner Sports broadcasts, one more than Golden State and two more than Brooklyn. One of the two matchup between the Lakers and Nets, widely considered the betting favorites to win their respective conferences this season, will take place on Christmas. The NBA did not schedule the Clippers for a Christmas matchup for the first time since 2018.

Dates for Clippers matchups against other key opponents include seeing Phoenix, which ousted the Clippers in six games for last season’s conference championship, on Dec. 13 and April 6 at Staples Center, and Jan. 6 and Feb. 15 on the road. The reigning champion Milwaukee Bucks visit Los Angeles on Feb. 6 and the Clippers return the favor April 1.

Sixteen of the Clippers’ first 22 games are at home. The stretch includes a pair of season-long, six-game homestands. That is followed by nine road games, including a trip through Boston, Toronto and Brooklyn, between Dec. 3 and Jan. 1. Their longest road trip begins Jan. 19 in Denver and ends Jan. 31 in Indiana — in total, eight games in 11 nights against playoff teams from last season including the Nuggets, Philadelphia, New York, Washington and Miami.

In all, 20 of the team’s 32 games during December and January will be played on the road.

The Clippers will play on consecutive nights 13 times, with their final “back-to-back” a homestand to close the season: April 9 against Sacramento and the finale the following night against Oklahoma City.

Some of the schedule tweaks adopted as a response to limited travel during a pandemic last season have stuck despite the return to the 82-game schedule. The Clippers have three so-called “baseball-style” road series, with multiple road games played in one city over several days: Games on Nov. 3 and Nov. 5 at Minnesota; Feb. 10 and Feb. 12 at Dallas, last season’s first-round playoff opponent; and Feb. 27 and March 1 at Houston.

The Clippers’ final game before an eight-day All-Star break is Feb. 17 against Houston.

Reunions with former Clippers start early. Kenny Atkinson, an assistant on coach Tyronn Lue’s staff last season, will see his former team on opening night now as a member of the Warriors’ staff. Chauncey Billups, another assistant now in his first head coaching job with Portland, will face Lue, his close friend, in the season’s third game on Oct. 25, at Staples Center, and again four days later in Portland. Only days later former guard Patrick Beverley, traded to Memphis earlier this week before being re-routed to Minnesota, will face the Clippers during two games in Minneapolis.

Atlanta’s Lou Williams, traded away by the Clippers as last year’s trade deadline, will see his former team for the first time on Jan. 9 in Los Angeles, where is likely to receive a tribute after twice being named the NBA’s top reserve while with the franchise.

The Clippers are expected to begin training camp Sept. 27 and play a five-game preseason schedule that has yet to be announced.

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