Lakers preseason games announced

Normally, revealing the Lakers' preseason schedule rates somewhere with "Wet Paint at Local Gymnasium Now Dry" on the Big News Story Scale, but of course nothing about the (tentative) 2011-12 season is normal. Meaning the announcement of this year's truncated slate of warm up games-- a home and home against the Clippers on December 19 (@LAL) and 21 (@LAC), both at 7:30 pm PT-- actually provides a few talking points.

First, the Lakers benefit from not having to go anywhere to play. Even a short flight to Golden State or Sacramento would mean losing time better spent doing something else, namely practicing. Second, the Clippers are a real team with genuine playoff ambition, particularly if rumors about Caron Butler prove true. The red, white, and blue should be focused and ready to go, and won't be spending much time auditioning prospective talent. They have a basic rotation in place, as do the Lakers, and those are the guys who will play. All told, it improves the quality of the two dress rehearsals. Given how little time the Lakers have to prepare for Christmas day, this matters.

The short camp combined with a new coaching staff and any number of other open questions about the Lakers means we're likely to assign more meaning to the outcome of these games than they probably deserve, but no question they count for something more than your typical preseason contest.

And if nothing else, sticking Kobe Bryant and Blake Griffin together in a pair of games likely to have a regular season feel to them benefits fans who normally don't get much of a show for their preseason ticket dollar.