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A Look at the Clippers’ Schedule After the All Star Break

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The Clippers are striving for a playoff spot, and sit in a precarious position with only a third of the season remaining. Here is a brief overview of their schedule for the rest of the season.

2018 JBL Three-Point Contest Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

The Clippers sit in 9th place in the Western Conference after the All Star Break, just a half game back of the 8th seeded Pelicans—and a playoff spot. However, the middle and bottom of the Western playoff picture is completely jumbled right now. The 3rd through 10th seeds are separated by a minuscule 4.5 games; eight teams are competing for six playoff spots. With such a small margin for error, every last game matters. Because of that, schedule is hugely important down the stretch: teams that are more talented (and even playing better) than others can drop in position if they play tough opponents while their adversaries handle tanking teams. Here’s a quick overview of the Clippers’ schedule for the rest of the season, briefly compared to some of the teams ahead and behind them.

The Clippers have 26 games left, which is a bit more than most of the teams surrounding them in the standings. In fact, Minnesota has an incredible five fewer games to play than the Clippers the rest of the season. The Clippers will therefore have less rest for the remainder of the season than their rivals, which is a factor against them.

The Clippers will play an even number of those 26 games on the home and the road, which is around the same as most of the other teams. A few will have one or two more on the road or at home, but nothing significant. The Jazz are the main outlier here: they will have 14 home games the rest of the way, and only 10 contests on the road. That gives them a boost, especially since Utah usually has a great home crowd (they are 18-9 at home thus far this season). The Jazz are already surging, playing perhaps the best basketball of any of the teams in this tier, so even this slight home-heavy schedule might be enough to tip the odds of making the playoffs in their favor.

Other Notable Scheduling Elements to Consider:

The Clippers toughest run of games will probably occur in mid-March. From March 15 to March 25 (11 days), they play 7 games, with 6 of them coming on the road. Every single one of those games is against a likely playoff team, with notable standouts being at Houston, at Toronto, and at Minnesota. If the Clippers can emerge with 4 wins in that time, they will have done well indeed.

On the flip side, their easiest set of games is the one directly prior to that brutal period. They start out the month of March with a five game home stand, including such cupcake games as the Knicks, Nets, and Magic. After that game, their road trip starts in Chicago, which is another game that should be an easy win. While those six games probably won’t all be wins, the Clippers need to do very well in them to weather any setbacks that will occur in the following weeks.

Very significantly, the Clippers have quite a few games remaining against those teams in the same pack as them. To be more specific, they face Denver, Portland, and New Orleans twice, and Oklahoma City, Minnesota, San Antonio, and Utah once apiece. If the Clippers can do well against their direct competition for those playoff spots, they will do themselves a huge service in their chase for the postseason. Even if they struggle in other games, every win against one of these teams essentially counts as double, making them the most important games on the calendar.

Finally, half the Clippers’ upcoming games will be played on national television. They have five contests on NBATV, three on ESPN, and another five on TNT. If they’re playing well, that should give them a lot of exposure leading into the playoffs. If not… well, they will fall out of the playoff race before the eyes of the nation. So no pressure!