During the press conference after the Dallas win, coach Doc Rivers of the Los Angeles Clippers expressed surprise when he heard a reporter refer to the team's impending seven game road trip as "The Grammy Trip." "Is that what it's called? Huh." It was a sort of an "L.A. -- La La Land" moment. Probably he was just feigning surprise; he must surely have known the moniker before.
I also found out recently why the trip is earlier this season than in years past -- it's always in early February, but this year it's in late January. It turns out that this year the Grammy Awards show is on January 26th instead of the second week in February, because CBS wants to avoid scheduling the show against NBC's Winter Olympics coverage. Regardless, the build out in STAPLES Center for the biggest concert show of the calendar year always requires the resident teams to vacate for a time. So the Clippers, Lakers and Kings all hit the road for a Grammy Trip every season.
Prime Ticket will likely show you some Google earth graphic illustrating the air miles the team is covering at some point in each game broadcast. That's not the purpose of this quick post.
Instead, I was simply struck by the crazy routing of this trip. The Clippers play against seven different Eastern Conference teams on their trip. Four of those teams are from the Central Division, two from the Atlantic division and one from the Southeast division.
But the sequence appears to have been put together by a travel agent tweaking on crystal meth.
With four Central Division teams in the general vicinity of Lake Michigan, you'd think the Clippers would have a relatively easy travel day here and there on the trip. Chicago to Milwaukee is less than 100 miles after all. But no. Other than Indiana to Detroit, the games against Central Division opponents always have a different game in between. So rather than going 92 miles from Chicago to Detroit, the NBA scheduler has them traveling 500 miles from Chicago to Toronto and then 500 miles BACK to Milwaukee. Rather than going from Detroit to pretty much any of the other great lakes cities, the schedule takes the team 700 miles south to Charlotte, then back up to Chicago.
And what of all the Eastern Conference teams within a couple hundred miles of New York? Heck, if the Knicks and Nets games were scheduled together, you wouldn't have to travel at all between them, but there's also Boston and Philadelphia and Washington all relatively nearby. But no, the Clippers travel 750 miles to Indianapolis after the Knicks game -- to play the second game of a back-to-back. Literally every other city on this trip is closer to Indy than New York, but that's the travel day they get for this brutal B2B. (To be fair, the Clippers actually hit all of those other Eastern seaboard teams in a cluster on their last trip, so the question is really why they didn't just play the Knicks then.)
Scheduling an NBA season is difficult, I get that. But does the NBA have money invested in jet fuel futures?