When the NBA released its 2013-14 regular-season schedule Tuesday, it made sense that the Lakers would host the Clippers in a nationally televised game Oct. 29 at Staples Center in the season opener for both teams.
After all, the arena rivals appear to be going in different directions, with the Clippers being on the rise and the Lakers at the crossroads for one of the few times in their storied history.
New Clippers Coach Doc Rivers, the re-signed Chris Paul, All-Star Blake Griffin and the team's cast of returning and new players will have 21 nationally televised games, showing just how far this franchise has come and how high the expectations are.
The Lakers, on the other hand, aren't sure when Kobe Bryant will return from surgery on his left Achilles' tendon and if Pau Gasol and Steve Nash will have resurgent seasons. They also don't have center Dwight Howard, who bolted L.A. for Houston.
Still, the NBA has the Lakers on for 22 nationally televised games, giving the fans a chance to see what this team will be about.
The Clippers, who will play 10 of their first 16 games at Staples Center, play their home opener against the up-and-coming Golden State Warriors on Oct. 31.
Both the Clippers and Lakers play on Christmas. The Lakers will host the two-time defending NBA champion Miami Heat and the Clippers will play at Golden State that night.
The teams have other games with added significance.
When the Clippers play at the Celtics on Dec. 11, it will be Rivers' first time back in Boston since he departed to become coach and senior vice president of basketball operations for the Clippers.
The Lakers will face Howard for the first time of the season in Houston on Nov. 7. Howard played one season for the Lakers, leaving for less money with the Rockets.
The Clippers play at Miami on Nov. 7; the Lakers travel there Jan. 23.
Both teams will leave Los Angeles for seven games during the middle of January for the annual "Grammy trip."
The Clippers will be at New York on Jan. 17, followed by games at Indiana, Detroit, Charlotte, Chicago, Toronto, and Milwaukee on Jan. 27.
The Lakers will be at Phoenix on Jan. 15, then at Boston, Toronto, Chicago, Miami, Orlando, and New York on Jan. 26.
Clippers single-game tickets — about 1,000 for each home game — will go on sale Wednesday at noon at the Staples Center box office or through Ticketmaster.