The 2011-12 NBA schedule was officially released at 7pm Eastern Time today, and it confirms many things that were already speculated. The Los Angeles Lakers will open on Christmas at home against the Chicago Bulls on ABC, and will then squeeze in five games before New Years.
The Lakers will play three straight (on the road against the Sacramento Kings on NBA TV, then at home against the Utah Jazz on TNT). They'll take a break, but the team opens with four games in the first five days, hosting the New York Knicks on December 29th.
Laker fans look forward to the Laker- Boston Celtics rivalry tipping off each year, but this year they'll have to wait for it, as the first LA-Boston game isn't until February 9th in Boston on TNT. The second game of the series at the Staples Center will be March 11th on ABC.
The new Laker-Heat rivalry will also tip off twice this year, on January 19th in Miami then on March 4th in LA on ABC. Due to the shortened schedule some East coast series' were cut short, for example there's only one game between the Lakers and Toronto Raptors this year.
The Lakers have five games on ABC this season, the aforementioned Celtics, Bulls, and Heat games, but also two April games against the Dallas Mavericks and Oklahoma City Thunder, both in Los Angeles. All five of the Laker ABC games will be at the Staples Center. After Christmas, the NBA on ABC schedule doesn't resume until January 29th.