A cold December will test the Lakers’ strength, as they will spend most of it on the road, particularly in Eastern Conference cities.
But they won’t find much relief in their own conference, as they will have to face Houston three times in December, while also meeting defending-champion Golden State twice.
Plus, there will be a visit to the Eastern Conference champion, Cleveland, on December 14. This slate of top-quality opponents will serve as a benchmark for the Lakers, and will also put them on national TV for more than half their games this month.
Playoff Opponents: 9
National TV Games: 8
Home Opponents: Houston, Golden State, Portland, Minnesota, Memphis, Clippers
Road Destinations: Denver, Philadelphia, Charlotte, New York, Cleveland, Houston (twice), Golden State
Dec. 12 at New York (4 p.m. PT; Spectrum SportsNet, Spectrum Deportes and ESPN)
It’s an annual trip to the “World’s Most Famous Arena,” as the Lakers make their pilgrimage to Madison Square Garden. This time there will be a clash between lottery-pick point guards, as Lonzo Ball takes on Frank Ntilikina.
Dec. 25 vs. Minnesota (7:30 p.m. PT; TNT)
The holiday tradition lives on, as the Lakers will play on Christmas Day for the 18th consecutive year. This edition will see Ball, Brandon Ingram and Julius Randle battle another team stocked for the future, as Jimmy Butler, Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins come to Los Angeles.
Dec. 31 at Houston (4 p.m. PT; Spectrum SportsNet and Spectrum Deportes)
The final game of 2017 will also be the last meeting with Houston in a month that will make both sides familiar with one another. The Lakers will look to end the calendar year with some fireworks against a loaded Rockets squad headlined by James Harden and Chris Paul.