The first Los Angeles Lakers vs. L.A. Clippers matchup of the 2022-23 season will take place on Thursday, Oct. 20, per Shams Charania of Stadium and The Athletic:
Shams Charania @ShamsCharania
The first Lakers-Clippers game of the 2022-23 NBA season is scheduled for Oct. 20 at <a href="https://t.co/lur8Hbuv0r">https://t.co/lur8Hbuv0r</a> Arena, sources tell <a href="https://twitter.com/TheAthletic?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@TheAthletic</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/Stadium?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Stadium</a>.<br><br>LeBron James-Anthony Davis vs. Kawhi Leonard-Paul George again for first time since Dec. 22, 2020.
Both teams are attempting to make the playoffs after missing out last year. The 33-49 Lakers finished 11th in the Western Conference, one spot out of the final play-in tournament berth. The 42-40 Clippers lost twice in the play-in tournament and did not qualify for the postseason.
Both teams figure to have more optimistic outlooks in 2022-23, though.
The Lakers were snakebit with injuries and an inconsistent rotation. LeBron James (26 games) and Anthony Davis (42 games) both missed significant time.
Twenty-five players ultimately suited up for the Lakers last year, and it became impossible for the team to form any sort of chemistry. Better health and a more stable rotation should certainly help the Lakers enjoy more success under first-year head coach Darvin Ham.
For the Clips, a partially torn ACL kept Kawhi Leonard out for the entire season, and Paul George was out for 51 games mainly because of a torn UCL in his right elbow. Having both of those players back and good to go should be a massive boost to this team's playoff chances.
Ultimately, the Lakers vs. Clippers matchups should be must-see television this year. The first one of the year isn't the only game to be leaked thus far prior to the NBA schedule being officially released.
Longtime NBA reporter Marc Stein reported that the Memphis Grizzlies will visit the defending champion Golden State Warriors on Christmas Day. In addition, Stein noted that the Lakers will visit the Dallas Mavericks on Christmas as well.
The season will begin on Oct. 18. Per Charania, the Lakers will be visiting the Warriors, who will have an opening-night ring ceremony.