I thought before the season that Clippers need to avg 10 wins a month (Jan-Feb-Mar-Apr) to get to a record of 40-26 and a good seed in the playoffs. The western conference is very very tough so getting close to 40 wins will almost be required for a playoff spot. For simplicity sake, I counted the Dec games into the January pool. As of now, they are on pace and actually ahead of this pace. Any wins they get beyond 10 in Feb or Mar will be an added bonus, as I think the April month will be the toughest schedule-wise.
Coincidentally, ESPN's John Hollinger listed his 2011-12 NBA Playoff odds and lists Clippers as a projected record of 40-26 (with best possible at 54-12 and worst possible at 25-41) so I'm glad that my estimation is confirmed by someone else. According to him, that record would get the Clippers a 3 seed which I like though according to his list that would mean a series vs Denver--the 4-5 seed series is Portland vs Houston. I'd rather drop a seed and play one of them.
To sum all this up, the Clippers are +7 in the win column after roughly 1/3 of the season. They need to finish at +14 at the end of the season which means a closing record of 25-18 which totally seems doable considering they still have these games to come:
3 vs New Orleans (2H, 1A)
4 vs PHX (2H, 2A)
3 vs GSW (2H, 1A)
3 vs Sacramento (1H, 2A)
1 vs Utah (at Home--still dont consider them a playoff team--consider them in the GSW/PHX level)
And games against weak eastern opponents: @ Char, Wash, @ NJ, and Detroit
That's 18 games vs what I would consider lesser opponents. I think they should go at least 13-5 in those games assuming some slip ups and fatigue). That leaves 12 more wins to come from the rest of the scheduled 25 games. Of those remaining games they have 15 vs above avg/good teams:
2 vs Portland (1H, 1A)
2 vs Denver (1H, 1A)
3 vs MIN (1H, 2A)
2 vs ATL (1H, 1A)
2 vs Houston (1H, 1A)
2 vs Memphis (1H, 1A)
1 vs Indiana (1A)
1 vs NYK (1A)
I put Minnesota in this category because are improved and dangerous. I think they should go 7-8 vs these pool of teams. I think they win the home games and steal one at Pacers or Knicks. They could also steal one at Minnesota.
So now that leaves 5 more wins to come home what is left on the schedule; 10 games vs those that I consider tough opponents:
1 vs 76ers (1A)
2 vs Dallas (2A)
2 vs San Antonio (1H, 1A)
1 vs Boston (1H)
3 vs OKC (1H, 2A)
1 vs Lakers (1H)
When I break it down like this, it does get dicey. I think they win at home vs Spurs and Boston but not sure where they get those other 3 wins at. Maybe I'm not as confident as I was....yikes!