With the NBA season set to start on Dec. 22, the Dallas Mavericks will be part of the league’s marquee Christmas Day schedule.

For the first time since 2011, the Mavs will play a game on Christmas. They will face the defending world champion Los Angeles Lakers in the prime 7 p.m. (Dallas time) slot at Staples Center in LA on the huge Christmas Day stage. The game will be televised on ABC and ESPN.

That means Mavs superstar guard Luka Doncic and his teammates will be facing Lakers superstar forward LeBron James and his teammates. And in the world of the NBA, it just doesn’t get much bigger than that.

Doncic and James were teammates and starters in the All-Star game earlier this year in Chicago, which was won by Team LeBron, 157-155. Also, James was the runner-up to Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo for the NBA’s Most Valuable Player award this past season, and Doncic finished fourth.

“It exciting,” Mavs owner Mark Cuban said of the Mavs-Lakers contest. “It’s a big game playing the champs, and when Luka and LBJ match up it’s always something special. I’m super excited to get back into it!”

The last time the Mavs played on Christmas was in 2011 — shortly after they captured their lone NBA title in June of that year.

In releasing its national television schedule for the first three days of the 2020-21 season, the NBA also announced that the Mavs will play the Suns in Phoenix on Dec. 23 at 9:30 p.m. on ESPN. The remainder of the first half of the schedule (Dec. 22-Mar. 4) will be announced on Friday.

Twitter: @DwainPrice

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