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NBA Los Angeles Lakers

2013 NBA Schedule: 5 Important Games For The Los Angeles Lakers

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2013 NBA Schedule: 5 Important Games For The Los Angeles Lakers

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA has released the complete 2013-14 regular-season schedule and there is no shortage of intriguing matchups. From Derek Rose’s return and Dwight Howard’s arrival in the city he spurned. The 2013 NBA season will bring many interesting storylines.

For the Los Angeles Lakers, 29 of their games will be nationally televised. That is the 4th most among all NBA teams. The Chicago Bulls and the New York Knicks have the most at 33. Coming in at third are the Oklahoma City Thunder, who have 30 nationally televised games.

Surprisingly, the Lakers have more nationally televised games than the two-time defending champions, the Miami Heat. The Miami Heat have 27 games that will be nationally televised which is leaving some people questioning the selection process.

Even with Kobe Bryant injured and Dwight Howard leaving for the Houston Rockets, the Lakers still bring in more ratings than any team in the NBA. This is a big reason why the Lakers host Christmas Day every year.

Interestingly enough, this season is the highest number of games they have had televised in years. With the Lakers expected to take a huge step back, it’s leaving most fans scratching their heads. During both the Lakers’ championship years in 2009-10 and 2010-11 they had only 25 games that were nationally televised.

Bryant may be the reason why the Lakers have so many televised games. They want to see him return from injury. Everyone knows Bryant can battle through anything, but he has never suffered an injury of this magnitude.

For the Lakers, they have many big games. Here is a look at five Lakers games that are a must watch.

Nugesse Ghebrendrias is a Sports writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @NugasayWhat24, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google

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Los Angeles Clippers: Tuesday, October 29 10:30 PM (ET)

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

For the Lakers opening night is a statement game. The Los Angeles Clippers retooled their team and are looking to establish their dominance once more against the Lakers. With Kobe Bryant remarkably on his way to playing very soon, expect a dog-fight. A healthy Lakers team will give the Clippers a run for their money. In front of the Lakers home crowd, things will be very exciting, especially since this game will follow the Heat vs. Bulls matchup. If Bryant is in the lineup opening night, expect a fierce battle amongst the superstars. Chris Paul is ready to take L.A. as his own. Something tells me Bryant won’t give it up that easy.

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Houston Rockets: Thursday, November 7 9:30 PM (ET)

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

On Thursday November 7, the Lakers travel to Houston to square off against Superman himself. Dwight Howard left a bad taste in the Lakers' mouth and they finally get to seek revenge. If Kobe didn't have enough motivation to return, this game might have done it. Bryant and the Lakers want nothing more than to show Howard that picking the Houston Rockets over the Lakers was a huge mistake. Also, the battle between James Harden and Bryant has always been interesting. With many NBA analysts suggesting Harden is the best shooting guard in the NBA, expect Bryant to take it personally.

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Atlanta Hawks: Sunday, November 3 9:30 PM (ET)

Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

The last time the Lakers played the Atlanta Hawks Dahntay Jones landed on Bryant’s ankle and sprained it. The NBA went back and reviewed that Bryant should have had two free throws at the end of the game. After, Bryant told reporters that it was one his worst sprains. Many people were upset that Jones’ challenge was dirty and he purposely landed under Bryant.

Bryant isn't one to forget something like this. “I can’t get my mind past the fact that I've got to wait a year to get revenge,” he said.

If Bryant is in the lineup against the Hawks, he will take revenge the way he knows best. For Jones, he better hope he is inactive for this game.

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Miami Heat: Wednesday, December 25 5:00 PM (ET)

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Christmas Day is always a big deal for the Lakers. Even though they haven’t won as many as they would've liked, this year LeBron James and the Miami Heat roll into town. LeBron has made his way to Los Angeles multiple times over his career, and he has dominated every time. With the Heat looking to defend their title again, the Lakers look to send the Heat a message. Like any other NBA team, Kobe and the Lakers look to knock them off their podium. Even though the Lakers are far from a championship team, expect a playoff atmosphere between the two teams.

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Houston Rockets: Wednesday, February 19 10:30 PM (ET)

Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Sports

Once again the Houston Rockets are on the list. However, this time the Rockets will travel to Los Angeles. Howard's return to Hollywood will be on national television for the entire country to see. Since leaving the Lakers for the Rockets, Howard continues to bash the city and the team. Don’t expect Lakers fans to go easy on him. He might not get the same amount of ill will returning like LeBron did when he returned to Cleveland, but expect Lakers fans to give him constant jeering.