The Los Angeles Lakers will be an interesting team to watch in the 2012-13 season. They remain a powerhouse in the Western Conference, but no one is quite sure whether Kobe Bryant and company has enough to take down the Thunder or compete with the Heat. The addition of Steve Nash is certainly exciting, and it will be intriguing to watch how he works with a team that has not had a true point guard in a long time. Here are a few games that should be particularly compelling.
One game does not make a season, but I think the opening game on October 30 will generate a lot of curiosity. As mentioned, Steve Nash is an electric player and he will have a lot of new weapons with Kobe, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum on the floor. Will they be unstoppable on offense, or will it take time for the stars to mesh? In addition, what kind of defense will they play? This game will undoubtedly generate a lot of interest.
The Battle for Los Angeles is possibly going to be even more interesting in 2012-13 than it was last season. It is a little odd to think in terms of "home" and "away" when two teams play in the same building. There is a different flavor when the season ticket holders of each team have the seats, but the rivalry between the Lakers and Clippers is certainly becoming more balanced. The two teams meet on November 2, January 4, February 14 and April 7. Therefore, the games are spread out but it will be fun to see the teams meet in the first week of the season. Both clubs will be looking for some early confidence and bragging rights.
The big dogs
Laker fans are going to circle certain dates on the calendar, particular when Los Angeles plays the best teams in the NBA. The Oklahoma City Thunder host the Lakers on December 7, head to Staples on January 11 and January 27, and then host again on March 5. The two games in January may set a tone for the playoffs. Miami visits on January 17 and then hosts the Lakers on February 10. This makes the stretch of games from January 11-27 even more interesting.
For the Lakers, this may be another productive year, or it may be the beginning of the end of the Kobe Bryant era.
The author grew up in Seattle and now lives in Los Angeles, where he enjoys the rivalry between the Lakers and the Clippers, and all the drama that goes with being in the Southland. You can follow him on Twitter @tpheifer.
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