The NBA set in place a 49-game preseason schedule on Friday, with practice games taking place Dec. 11-19 in advance of the Dec. 22 start to the regular season.
Each team will play at least two preseason games, with the NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers playing four times before the delayed regular season gets underway just before Christmas.
Five games are scheduled for the Dec. 11 opening night of preseason games, highlighted by a matchup between the Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers. The rivals, who each play at the Staples Center, will play each other two times. The Lakers also will play the Phoenix Suns twice.
The Toronto Raptors will play three preseason games, including a home game at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Fla. The Raptors will begin the regular season with home games at Tampa after the Canadian government ruled that the team would not be able to host opponents in its own arena.
The NBA season typically starts in October but was pushed back to December after the 2019-20 season was delayed four months by the COVID-19 pandemic. Each team will play 72 regular-season games in 2020-21, 10 shy of a typical season.
The NBA will release the regular-season schedule in two segments. The schedule for the first half of the season is expected to be released in the coming days. A second-half schedule will be released later and include any first-half games that had to be postponed because of COVID-19 concerns.
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