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The Clippers' Schedule

OK, so clearly I'm a slacker.  The schedule's been out for six weeks, and Kevin at ClipperBlog has already parsed it.  But I was on vacation when it came out, and while I always meant to add my two cents, nothing really brought it to the front burner.  Nothing until the broadcast schedule was announced today.

As usual, the Clippers have a handful (five, that's exactly one handful unless you're from Springfield) of games not on television this season.  I've given up trying to figure out why TV stations would broadcast 77 games but not 5 more.  I certainly don't get it.  Who knows what Prime Ticket will show those nights instead.  Reruns of Laker games perhaps.  The actual games that are left out seem particularly strange this season - no TV for division rivals Phoenix and Sacramento?  No TV for a game at Dallas?  Those are especially hard to fathom.  But I'm done trying to figure that out.

Anyway, as I was looking at it, the schedule kind of slapped me in the face.  I mean - jeez-oh-pete.  The Clippers play their first seven games, and nine of their first ten, against Western Conference teams who won at least 48 games last season.  Yes, eight of those ten games are at home - but those are some really good teams.  And the Clippers could still be figuring out how to play together.

Obviously, the schedule evens out eventually - and the Clippers have a very friendly end of the season, which will be hugely significant if they're actually still in contention.  But this season, with ten new faces and some potentially volatile personalities, it would have been really nice to get a cushy November in order to generate some early season momentum.  No such luck.

Home games against Denver, Dallas, Sacramento and Golden State before November 15 look particularly important.  These are all teams whom the Clippers hope to be battling for a playoff spot - with other victories likely difficult to come by in the early going, it will be doubly important to win these games.  The Clippers do catch a semi-break in that Caremlo will likely be suspended for the Denver game, while Monta Ellis will clearly miss the early Dubs meeting.

And if you don't have other plans for New Year's Eve, come on out to Staples and welcome FElton back.