As much as I LOVE the Clippers, I probably won’t be able to tune into all 82 regular-season games. I live in Korea (16 hours ahead of Pacific Time), and for me to watch some of the early afternoon games, I would need to stay up until 4 a.m. — no, this is not a typo. While I have done so to watch playoff games — namely, Game 7 against the Mavericks and Game 1 against the Suns — I’m not sacrificing my sleep to watch the Clippers take on the Magic on a Sunday. No chance.
I’m sure you, too, have your reasons for not being able to catch all 82 games. So, I’ll give you a helping hand and list five must-watch games (and one honorable mention) before the calendar turns to 2022 that deserve to take precedence over the other events in your life.
Honorable Mention: Patrick Beverley’s homecoming
Saturday, November 13 vs. Minnesota 7:30 p.m.
Although this game might not have the biggest names on the boxscore, it should hold sentimental value to Clipper fans: it’s the first game when Patrick Beverley, four-year Clipper and “founding father” of Clippers culture, will suit up against his former team at Staples Center, assuming he doesn’t get traded again.
He was the voice, the beating heart of this organization. And for the past four years, he brought us Clipper fans onto our feet and gave us many memories to look back on. Remember his game-sealing block against LeBron James on Christmas day? Or his many clutch defensive performances against Donovan Mitchell and the Jazz in the Western Conference semifinals? While he may not be in Clipper threads for this game, fans should be thrilled to see his exhilarating defensive efforts and zeal return to the 213.
Californian three-point shootout (first game of the season)
Thursday, October 21 @ Golden State 7 p.m. on TNT
The Warriors are not the same force they were when they went on to hoist the Larry O’Brien trophy three times in four years. Still, led by superstar Stephen Curry, they have sufficient firepower to light it up against any team in the league. That was the case for their entertaining matchup against the Clippers on Jan. 8, 2021: Curry’s nine 3-pointers propelled the Warriors to overcome a 21-deficit and come out with a win.
A similar fun-to-watch game should be expected the next time these teams go head-to-head against each other. It will be a shooting battle between the Clippers, last season’s most efficient 3-point shooting team, and the Warriors, equipped with arguably the greatest shooter of all time. Who doesn’t love a fast-paced and high-scoring game, right?
Luka Dončić and the Clippers battle it out, again
Sunday, November 21 vs. Dallas 12:30 p.m.
When the Clippers have faced Slovenian phenomenon Luka Dončić in the postseason, they have come out with the desired result: they won both first-round series against the Dallas Mavericks in the past two playoffs. But, don’t let those results fool you. Dončić was almost too much for the Clippers to handle: he was one game away from singlehandedly eliminating the Clippers. Dončić finished the seven-game series averaging 35.7 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 10.3 assists per game.
Frightening for the Clippers and the rest of the league, the 22-year-old is only getting better. In the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, he made headlines with a 48-point scoring outbreak in his Olympic debut against Argentina and recorded a triple-double against Nic Batum and the French, just the third time anyone has done so in the Olympics. Coming off an impressive run in the Olympics, Dončić is even more prepared to harass the Clippers defense (without their best perimeter defender in Kawhi Leonard, who looked to be the only Clipper capable of slowing Dončić down) from all over the court while the Clippers try to come out with a win, once again. The Clippers will take on this tough matchup twice in three days, giving it a pseudo-playoff feel.
The stars face off in Hollywood
Friday, December 3 @ Lakers 7 p.m. on ESPN
The matchup between the Clippers and the Lakers has become an instant classic, and it will be for years to come. With their superstars locked in on long-term deals, the L.A. teams are still on a collision course for a WCF matchup within the next few years. Accordingly, this game is an early look at the type of competition the Clippers will need to overcome if they want to get to the promised land. Not to mention, there will be more on the line than just one regular season win as the crosstown rivals will compete for the highly coveted title, “The Best Team in LA”.
Clippers seek vengeance against the Suns
Monday, December 13 vs. Phoenix 7:30 p.m. on NBA TV
In the Western Conference Finals, the Suns put Clippers fans on a roller coaster ride, mostly of hard falls followed by even more falls. The Suns stole game two with an alley-oop dunk by Deandre Ayton with less than one second left on the buzzer, putting fans to a sorrowful sleep. It hurt even more to see former Clipper floor general Chris Paul be the one that extinguished the Clippers’ championship hopes, dropping 41 points alongside eight dimes.
While their last game has ended long ago, unresolved tension still remains — enough tension to bring out the best of both teams. Fortunately for the Clippers, they will get a chance to run it back and give the Suns a taste of their own medicine in front of a home crowd. Paul George will come out eager to put on a show against Devin Booker and the Suns, especially when considering their previous verbal altercations and heated moments between the two superstars last season.
Everyone’s go-to matchup in 2K
Monday, December 27 vs. Brooklyn 7:30 p.m.
The Clippers and Nets share many similarities. They are the little brother in their own cities to the Lakers and Knicks, respectively; injuries held them back in last year’s playoffs; they both have a black and white color scheme for their City jerseys; most importantly, they share the win-now mentality — and both teams have what it takes to do so.
This matchup, therefore, led by the likes of superstars Paul George, Kevin Durant, and James Harden, will be a fierce battle that you don’t wanna miss. This much talent playing under one roof should already be a reason for you to watch this game. What’s more, though, the last two times these teams faced off were both nail-biter games even if they ended in the favor of the Nets, who won both contests by four points each. Third time’s the charm for the Clippers, right?
What early regular-season game are you most excited about?
This poll is closed
Opening night against GS
Revenge game against the Suns
Luka comes back to Staples Center
Battle of L.A.
First game against Nets
Other - let us know in the comments!