As 2011 approaches, some of the Lakers' most intriguing and difficult games of the season are on the horizon. To reclaim the best record in the Western Conference, and get into championship form, the team will have to go through the best teams in the league.
Here are 10 must-see games as the calendar turns from 2010 to 2011.
This is the first meeting between the two teams since their first round playoff series last spring. The Thunder were a Pau Gasol buzzer-beater away from forcing the series to a seventh game.
Right now, the Lakers are trailing the Mavericks in the Western Conference standings. This will give the Lakers a chance to make up ground in the standings, and we will get to see how the improved Mavericks stack up against the Lakers.
In a rematch of last year's NBA Finals, the two teams lock horns for the first time this season. For fans of both teams, this game has been circled since the schedule was released last August.
Less than two weeks after their first meeting of the season, the two teams play again in Boston. One team will be seeking revenge after their Jan. 30 showdown.
Considering the Knicks are once again relevant, and how much Kobe loves playing in the Garden, this game will have a lot of electricity.
These two title contenders square off in Orlando for the first time this season. The new look Magic will be using this game as a measuring stick to see how they stack up against the defending champs.
The Lakers will travel to the Rose Garden for the first time this season. The Lakers have had problems winning in Portland over the past decade. Throw in the fact that the Portland faithful hate the Lakers, and this should be an intriguing game.
The Lakers will attempt to avenge their embarassing loss against the Heat on Christmas Day, as they take their talents to South Beach in early March.
This late season game could have playoff seeding implications. The Lakers will try to go into the hostile confines of Salt Lake City and steal a win.
In the second-to-last game of the season, the Lakers and Spurs play in Los Angeles. Right now, the Lakers are trying to catch the Spurs for the top seed in the Western Conference. This game could potentially determine who claims the No. 1 seed in the West.