As of this morning (Tuesday, Feb 14) the Los Angeles Clippers are 17-9. That's 17 out of 26 for a winning percentage of a little over 65%. If the Clips keep winning at the same rate they'll win around 43 games, equivalent to around 53 games in an 82 game season. I worked out these numbers a few minutes ago and it made me feel good. If anyone told me the Clips would do that well at the beginning of the season, I'd have taken it.
But then I made a mistake and I happened to glance at the Clipper's schedule for March and April. Make the jump for the bad news.
Here's the Clipper's schedule in Google Calendar. You're in February, but tap the blue right arrow at the top to jump ahead to March...
Did you do that? Good! Now take it in for a few seconds.
Huh?!!? Wha!!!? Holy cow!!! Look at this mess!! Twenty games in thirty one days! Six back to backs and a back-to-back-to-back! Never more than a single day off in-between! The team starts off the month with a six-game road trip, and the triple-nighter is entirely on the road, three cities in three nights.
But, it's okay, right? Because April's bound to be better, plenty of time to tweak the rotation, and angle for the perfect playoff seed, right? Wrong. Fourteen games in twenty-five days including FOUR MORE back-to-backs. March and April are a gauntlet, a hatchet war, humans versus hordes of robot zombies... you get the picture.
I think rather than concentrating on winning games in March and April the Clipper's coaching staff should be carefully monitoring minutes, abandoning certain games in the third quarter, preserving easy wins against soft opponents, and quitting on tough games in back-to-backs. The Clips have a few important players with significant injury history (Griffin, Paul, Butler), and those guys HAVE to rest if the Clips hope to make any noise in the playoffs... assuming they make it to the playoffs... if the schedule-makers have their way, they won't.
That 65 percent winning percentage? That's probably not happening. Tweaking the rotation? Angling for a good seed? Survival will be the name of the game.