The NBA's 2013-14 season schedule was released Tuesday afternoon and there are plenty of intriguing games for Los Angeles Lakers fans to circle on their calendars (or enter reminders in their smart phones).
Here's a quick breakdown:
The Lakers tip things off playing in one of the three nationally televised games on opening night, Oct. 29, at home against the Clippers. They go upstate to play the Warriors the very next day, the first of 19 back-to-backs on the season. L.A. comes back to Staples Center for their next two games, hosting the San Antonio Spurs on the Nov. 1 and then the Atlanta Hawks on Nov. 3.
The Lakers travel to Houston to face off against Dwight Howard and the Rockets on Nov. 7 in just their sixth game of the season. You think that will give Kobe Bryant any motivation to be ready to play by late October? Howard will return to L.A. to hear the boo-birds on Feb. 19 in the Lakers' first game after the All-Star break.
Former Lakers head coach Mike Brown (along with Earl Clark and Andrew Bynum, if he's healthy) will come to town on Jan. 14 when the Lakers host the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Lakers also travel to Cleveland on Feb. 5 in the middle game of a three-game trip that ends Feb. 7 in Philadelphia when Bryant will have yet another Philly homecoming.
Metta World Peace will surely receive a warm welcome from Lakers fans on March 25 when he returns to L.A. with the Knicks on March 25.
The Lakers will get their first look at Brian Shaw coaching the Nuggets on Nov. 13 (the first of two times next season when the Lakers play the second night of a back-to-back in the Denver altitude) and Shaw and Co. come to L.A. on Jan. 5.
The Lakers host LeBron James and the two-time defending champion Miami Heat on Christmas Day and foam fingers probably won't be handed out at the door this time. The game is at 2 p.m. PT on ABC. The Lakers play in Miami on Jan. 23.
Their annual trip to the Mecca of Basketball at Madison Square Garden is Jan. 26 when they face World Peace and the Knicks and L.A. goes to the place that has been a thorn in its side for the last decade -- the Rose Garden in Portland -- on March 3.
L.A. plays the Clippers on three other occasions after opening night -- Jan. 14 ("road" game), March 6 and April 6 (another "road" game). They travel to play the stripped-down Boston Celtics on Jan. 17 and the guys in green come to L.A. on Feb. 21.
The Lakers' longest road trip is seven games -- at Phoenix, Boston, Toronto, Chicago, Miami, Orlando and New York -- spanning from Jan. 15-26. Their second-longest is a four-game trip through Oklahoma City, Charlotte, Atlanta and Memphis from Dec. 13-17.
The Lakers have a brutal six-game stretch to close out the regular season, which could prove challenging if they find themselves on the playoff bubble. It starts with a road game against the Clippers, followed by three games at home against Houston, Golden State and Memphis and ends up on the road in Utah and in San Antonio.