Raptors open and get rings against Zion and more schedule notes

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Lakers' roster should be much improved this season as they acquired Anthony Davis from the Pelicans this summer in exchange for Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, Brandon Ingram and three first-round picks. Rockets guard Russell Westbrook will make his return to Oklahoma City on January 9, though the Rockets face the Thunder in Houston on October 28, their third game of the season.

Back-to-backs are at an all-time low for the fifth season in a row - an average of 12.4 per team, one fewer than last season. Lakers come to Boston on January 20, Martin Luther King Day, which is always a special occasion in the NBA.Breaking tradition, the Celtics will not play at home on the afternoon of Super Bowl Sunday. Toronto's only other appearance in the NBA's prestigious Christmas lineup was against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden in 2001.

The regular season concludes on April 15 with 26 of the 30 teams in action that night.

Highlights of their home slate include visits from Paul George and the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday, Dec. 9, LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday, Dec, 17, defending Western Conference champion Golden State on Wednesday, Mar. 18 and Houston on Friday, Mar. 27.

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Pascal Siakam, left, and the Raptors pulled out a six-game victory over the Warriors in the recent NBA Finals. The number of doubleheaders at 8 p.m./10:30 p.m. ET on the two networks has been reduced by a combined 42 percent from last season (57 in 2018-19 compared with 33 in 2019-20).

The stretches of four games in five days might be gone for good.

- Milwaukee at Philadelphia (2:30 p.m., ABC): The 76ers last hosted a Christmas game in 1988. January 20 - Martin Luther King Day game in Atlanta.

In 10 National Basketball Association seasons, he has spent time with the Bucks, Philadelphia 76ers, Los Angeles Lakers, Detroit Pistons, Orlando Magic and Washington Wizards prior to his time with the Raps. The teams won't meet next season until March 5 in Golden State.

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