The Clippers have a complicated relationship with afternoon games.
Actually, it’s not that complicated — they don’t like them. Ty Lue has remarked that his team often lacks punch or spark in those contests. The Clippers went 2-4 in regular-season games that began before 1 p.m. PT in the 2020-21 season, including a disastrous loss to Dallas in the team’s third game. Lue even jokingly blamed the media for jinxing the Clippers on Super Bowl Sunday against Sacramento by bringing up the day-game stat.
Doc Rivers was even more offended by early starts, which he claimed were a byproduct of being the third tenant in Staples Center. Before a game against the New York Knicks in Jan. 2020, which was the second straight day the Clippers were playing at 12:30 p.m., Rivers said, “You know what would be the best part about us having the arena? We wouldn’t be having this press conference at 12 o’clock today. I guarantee you that. Back to back 12 games is ridiculous.”
Lo and behold, the Clippers once again have multiple early afternoon games on their schedule, a whopping 10 that start before 1 p.m. Two of those are in the familiar Saturday/Sunday back-to-back in January, when Memphis once again comes to town for the first of the set. The Clippers even get the Mavericks again on a Sunday afternoon in November.
The only one of those start times that is excusable is on Martin Luther King Day, when the NBA plays around the clock. Otherwise, it’s somewhat ludicrous that the Clippers keep getting their body clocks thrown off by having to play at odd hours of the day. The Inglewood Arena can’t come soon enough.