Thanks to the earlier schedule leaks that came out, we knew that the LA Clippers would begin their season on Oct. 20 against the Los Angeles Lakers. We also knew the dates of all four games between those two squads, as well as the fact that the Clippers would have Christmas off this year.
Now we know the full schedule thanks to the NBA releasing the dates, times and locations of each game this season. So, here are some of the interesting matchups as far as the Clippers are concerned. Sidenote: Because we already knew the games and dates against the Lakers, they won’t be mentioned here.
OCT. 23, 2022 vs PHOENIX SUNS — 7:00 PM PT
The last time these two teams locked up in a meaningful game of basketball came in the 2021 Western Conference finals. It’s been an interesting trajectory for both franchises since then. The Phoenix Suns had an NBA-best 64 wins last season but flamed out in spectacular fashion at the hands of the Dallas Mavericks, including losing the final two games of the series by a combined 60 points.
But this meeting on Oct. 23 will be the Clippers’ home opener and the first time the two teams have met while relatively healthy since an Apr. 8, 2021 meeting in Los Angeles that the Clippers won, 113-103. Kawhi Leonard and Paul George combined for 60 that night en route to a victory. The Clippers are 4-2 against the Suns in games Leonard plays and he’s averaged 23.3 points in those contests. This will be Leonard’s first regular season home game since injuring his right anterior cruciate ligament in Game 4 of the 2021 semifinals.
OCT. 30, 2022 vs NEW ORLEANS PELICANS — 12:00 PM PT
If you were waiting to know the date for one of the play-in tournament rematch games, well here you go. This will be the New Orleans Pelicans’ first trip to Los Angeles in the season and also the Clippers’ second home game. The Pelicans will be coming for a visit in the latter stages of March, as well, but this is the big one. It’ll be the first meeting between the two sides since the Clippers lost to the Pelicans in the play-in game for the 8th and final spot in the postseason this past April.
This will also be the very first time that Zion Williamson will play against the Clippers in Los Angeles. His only previous “road” meeting against the Clippers occurred in the Orlando bubble back on Aug. 1, 2020. So, if you’ve never seen Williamson in person, this would be a fun game to make it out to since it’s also early enough in the season that both teams should be healthy, barring any unforeseen circumstances.
NOV. 23, 2022 at GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS — 7:00 PM PT
Last season, the Clippers began the 2021-22 campaign on the road against the Golden State Warriors, the team that eventually went on to win the title. They ended up losing that night, 115-113, in a contest that saw the Clippers get nipped down the stretch. But, obviously, the Clippers were without Kawhi Leonard that night. The Warriors, meanwhile, were without Klay Thompson. Now, though, we’ll get to see the two squads healthy.
The Clippers are 5-1 against the Warriors when Leonard plays. The star has averaged 25.5 points on 54.9% shooting in those six games, torturing the Warriors’ lack of viable wing defenders in the process. But now this will be a meeting between not only two of the top teams in the league, but two of the betting favorites for the title. The last time Leonard and George played together in San Francisco was Jan. 8, 2021. It was a blown fourth quarter lead for the Clippers as the Warriors snatched victory, 115-105. The first time the Warriors visit the Clippers this season will be Feb. 14.
NOV. 25, 2022 vs DENVER NUGGETS — 7:30 PM PT
It seems like every single game between the Clippers and Denver Nuggets features the strangest set of circumstances on a basketball court that you could ever see. Last season, Denver went 3-1 against the Clippers, but all four games were tight affairs as all four were within a single-possession with roughly four minutes to go in the fourth quarter. The last time these two teams met in Los Angeles, the Clippers rallied from a 25-point third quarter deficit to win, 87-85.
This meeting actually takes place the day after Thanksgiving, believe it or not. And it will be the first time that two-time reigning Most Valuable Player award winner Nikola Jokic visits the Clippers this season and he always seems to save his best for them. For his career, Jokic has averaged 20.3 points, 10.8 rebounds and 5.8 assists on 53.1% shooting against the Clippers. But, even more astonishing, Jokic has averaged 25.2 points, 12.4 rebounds and 7.7 assists on 53.7% shooting against them over the last three seasons. This should be a barn burner.
DEC. 10, 2022 at WASHINGTON WIZARDS — 4:00 PM PT
Originally, this spot was designated for the road trip up north to play the Toronto Raptors since it would be Leonard’s second visit there since helping Toronto win their only championship. However, we’re pivoting to the Washington Wizards since the arrival of John Wall is a pretty big one. This would mark the second time that Wall steps foot in the nation’s capital as an opposing player. The other time was with the Houston Rockets on Feb. 15, 2021. Wall had 29 points and 11 assists that night in a Houston loss, but there were no fans in attendance for that game due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Wall spent nine seasons with the Wizards before getting dealt to the Rockets in a swap for Russell Westbrook. After sitting out last season, Wall will have gone 545 days between games by the time opening night rolls around for the Clippers. It’ll be interesting to see the ovation he receives this time around in Washington since fans will actually be in attendance. The Wizards will show up in Los Angeles to play the Clippers on Dec. 17.
DEC. 23, 2022 at PHILADELPHIA 76ERS — 4:00 PM PT
What, you thought you weren’t going to see Doc Rivers’ current team on here? You thought wrong then. MVP runner-up Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers are a formidable opponent, and if the reports about James Harden taking this offseason seriously are true then this could be a potential Finals preview of sorts. The 76ers do have the talent — especially with players such as Tyrese Maxey, Tobias Harris, De’Anthony Melton and P.J. Tucker in the fold — to make that type of run.
For the Clippers, this will be a good test at that point of the season to see where they’re at as they make a road trek East to play some of the top teams from that conference. The last time the Clippers visited Philadelphia, the team rallied from a 24-point second half deficit to stun the 76ers. They did that without both Leonard and George, as well. If you’re wondering when Rivers and company will visit Los Angeles, the Clippers and 76ers lock horns in L.A. on Jan. 17.
DEC. 29, 2022 at BOSTON CELTICS — 4:30 PM PT
If the meetings against the Nuggets are crazy, the ones against the Boston Celtics have reached a level of genuine wildness. In fact, the last six games between the Clippers and Celtics have been decided by single-digits. Two of those last six games have gone to overtime, and the four that didn’t were within four points with a minute to play. It’s honestly stunning to realize how equally matched the two sides have been the last several seasons.
Last year, the Clippers inexplicably won both games against the Celtics while being without Leonard and George for both contests. The second win, which came in Boston on Dec. 29, saw the Clippers without the aforementioned stars as well as Reggie Jackson, so it really was a surprising win in retrospect. With Leonard and George both back and presumably healthy, this could also be a Finals preview. After all, Boston did make the Finals this past season before losing in six games to the Warriors. There’s also the fun little fact that the two franchises will forever be linked together because of an ownership swap. The Celtics will visit Los Angeles on Dec. 12.
JAN. 6, 2023 at MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES — 6:00 PM PT
Much like the Pelicans visiting L.A. will be a play-in rematch, so too will be the Clippers traveling to the Twin Cities to take on the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Clippers’ last visit to Minnesota saw them lose the play-in game for the 7-seed, 109-104. You might remember that game for former-Clipper Patrick Beverley jumping up on the scorer’s table after the game to egg on a raucous Minnesota crowd. It was a crazy night, to say the least.
Quite a bit has changed for the Timberwolves this offseason, though. They shipped out Beverley, as well as a few other players and a boatload of picks, to bring in multi-time All-NBA center Rudy Gobert from the Utah Jazz. It’s turned the Timberwolves into a gigantic team that will be a problem every night in the league. Will the Clippers get their revenge? That remains to be seen, but tune in to find out. Minnesota’s first appearance at Crpyto.com Arena against the Clippers this season will be Dec. 14.
FEB. 10, 2023 vs MILWAUKEE BUCKS — 7:30 PM PT
Boy, it doesn’t get much better than this matchup around the NBA. It’s Kawhi Leonard versus Giannis Antetokounmpo. It’s Paul George versus Khris Middleton. The Clippers versus the Milwaukee Bucks. The last time Leonard and Antetokounmpo went head-to-head was on Mar. 29, 2021. It was a 129-105 win for the Clippers that evening in Los Angeles as Leonard poured home 23 points, 9 rebounds and 8 assists. Antetokounmpo had 32 points.
This could conceivably be a potential Finals preview as the Bucks and Clippers both possess a solid chance of making out of their respective conferences. In his last five visits to Los Angeles against the Clippers, Antetokounmpo has averaged 30.2 points, 11.8 rebounds and 5.6 assists on 53.3% shooting. The two-time league MVP has also made 47.4% of his 3s during that time. However, the Clippers have won three of those five games.
MAR. 11, 2023 vs NEW YORK KNICKS — 1:00 PM PT
You might be looking at this game and thinking, “What the heck is so special about this that it deserves to be a key matchup?” That’s the beauty of the NBA schedule, though! After all, this is the return of Isaiah Hartenstein. The backup center signed as a free agent with the New York Knicks this offseason, and this will be the first game Hartenstein plays back at Crypto.com Arena against the Clippers.
Hartenstein was a vital cog in the Clippers’ machine last season as he helped the team to their 11th consecutive winning season. Hartenstein averaged 8.3 points, 4.9 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.1 blocks on 62.6% shooting across 68 games for the Clippers in 2021-22. It was career highs across the board for the young center, minus the field goal percentage. The 24-year-old should have a more expanded role with the Knicks, and it’ll be good to see him back in Los Angeles for this game. Here’s to hoping he gets a video tribute.