The Los Angeles Lakers will open the 2017-18 season by playing host to the Los Angeles Clippers Oct. 19 and face the Minnesota Timberwolves on Christmas Night, also at Staples Center, the NBA announced Thursday.
The opener will be the Lakers earliest since 1980, when they began the season on Oct. 10. The NBA is opening its season earlier because it reduced its preseason schedule to six games per team from eight under terms of the new collective bargaining agreement that took effect July 1.
The Lakers will be playing on Christmas Day for the 19th consecutive year. The last time the Lakers didn’t play on Christmas was in 1998 when the owners lockout of the players delayed the start of the season until February.
The Lakers have won 22 games on Christmas, tying the New York Knicks for the most in NBA history. The Lakers are 22-21 on Christmas, while New York is 22-29. The Knicks will play the Philadelphia 76ers on Christmas Day.