NBA Schedule 2011-2012: Lakers' Season Could Be Defined In December

The Los Angeles Lakers will once again open the season with a heavy home schedule with nine of their 14 November games at the Staples Center and all but one of those games west of the Mississippi River, but their 2011-12 schedule gets considerably tougher in December. The season's second month will feature 15 games, 11 of which will be on the road and include a stretch of seven road games in 15 days.

From Dec. 15-30, the Lakers will start off by visiting the defending NBA Champion Dallas Mavericks and be followed by four more road games in five days. They'll then return home for a game against the Chicago Bulls before hitting the road again to play the Sacramento Kings and Phoenix Suns. Among the tougher games that month are road encounters against the Utah Jazz, Houston Rockets and Miami Heat and home games against the Portland Trailblazers and Orlando Magic.

The Lakers' longest road trip will come in February, when they play six straight along the eastern seaboard. They open the trip against the Magic on Feb. 3 and then visit each of the five Atlantic Division teams, closing with a game against the Toronto Raptors on Feb. 12.

While the Lakers only have 19 back-to-back games -- on the low end -- 18 of those will close out on the road, although one of them is against the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples. Three of those back-to-backs will be particularly tough. On March 20-21, the Lakers will play road games against the Rockets and Mavericks. On April 8-9 they'll visit the Oklahoma City Thunder and New Orleans Hornets. The final two games of the season should also be interesting, as the Lakers will host the San Antonio Spurs on April 17 before visiting the Denver Nuggets on April 18.

For a complete copy of the 2011-12 NBA schedule, visit NBA.com.

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