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Report: Lakers to open on road vs. Blazers

Lakers, Blazers

LeBron James and the new-look Los Angeles Lakers will get their first taste of regular-season competition on Oct. 18 by taking on the Portland Trail Blazers on the road, according to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer.

Formerly the King of the East, James will have no nights off in this Western Conference, taking on teams that are chomping at the bit to prove themselves against a powerhouse in the making.

The Blazers managed to climb up the West’s standings last season, finishing the regular season with the third seed — but that proved all for naught, as they were swept out of the first round by the sixth-seeded New Orleans Pelicans.

Portland will be anxious to make a statement early in the season opener, while the Lakers will try to get myriad new faces to mesh alongside James and complement him as supporting players.

A 15-year veteran in the league, James knows just what it takes to make the postseason, having done so for 13 straight postseasons, including eight straight trips to the NBA Finals. But it will prove much harder to mow down a loaded Western Conference with teams like the Houston Rockets, Oklahoma City Thunder, and defending champion Golden State Warriors — all with championship ambitions.

The Lakers will see an improvement in their overall record, but they are believed to still be a team “under construction” as they await the 2019 free-agency period to add another superstar to make a push for a title.