In spite of the fact that there’s a lockout, the NBA decided to tease us with what a potential season’s schedule would look like today. One of the pleasant surprises was that the Clippers were given 20 games on national television, an indicator that Blake Griffin & Co.’s marketability has spread to the NBA’s general fan base.
Let’s breakdown the highlights of the Clippers’ schedule:
-The Clippers start the season off at home against the Memphis Grizzlies on November 2nd; their next two games are at home (Nov. 4th vs Portland, Nov. 6th vs Cleveland) before heading on the road to face Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls (Nov. 8th)
- The Clippers have 21 back-to-backs this season; here are the second game of back-to-backs for each set: @ Toronto (Nov. 9th), @ San Antonio (Nov. 16th), vs. Chicago (Nov. 19th), @ Phoenix (Nov. 25th), @ Washington (Dec. 14th), @ New York (Dec. 17th), @ Denver (Dec. 22nd), @ L.A. Lakers (Dec. 27th), @ Sacramento (Jan. 23rd), @ L.A. Lakers (Jan. 26th), @ Indiana (Feb. 4th), @ Orlando (Feb. 8th), @ Atlanta (Feb. 11th), @ Portland (Feb. 16th), vs. Phoenix (Feb. 21st), vs. Minnesota (Feb. 29th), @ Minnesota (Mar. 5th), vs. Detroit (Mar. 18th), @ New Orleans (Mar. 22nd), vs. Utah (Mar. 31st), vs. Sacramento (April 7th), @ Minnesota (April 12th)
-To put the above in layman’s terms, the Clippers have a lot of back-to-backs, most of which are on the road against some of the league’s best teams
- This year’s annual road trip before the All-Star Break is only 8 games (which is better than last season’s 11, in which the Clippers went 2-9), featuring stops in Miami (Feb. 7th), Orlando (Feb. 8th) and Dallas (Feb. 13th)
-They have 20 games on national television (eight games on ESPN, five on TNT and seven on NBA TV)
-Home games to watch: vs. Portland (Nov. 4th – ESPN), vs. Chicago (Nov. 19th – NBA TV), vs. Boston (Dec. 5th – NBA TV), vs. Miami, (Jan. 11th – ESPN), vs. Dallas (Jan. 18th – ESPN), vs. Lakers (Jan. 20th – ESPN), vs. Oklahoma City (April 16th – NBA TV)
-Road games to watch: @ Dallas (Dec. 9th – ESPN), @ New York (Dec. 17th – NBA TV), @ Lakers (Jan. 26th – TNT), @ Portland (Feb.16th – TNT), @ San Antonio (Mar. 9th – NBA TV), @ Golden State (April 18th – ESPN)
-The Clippers end their season against a familiar foe, the Golden State Warriors, in the Bay Area on April 18th
Here at ClipperBlog, we put our brilliant minds together and determined what games we’re looking forward to most for this upcoming, hypothetical season. Without further ado, here are the match-ups:
L.A. Clippers vs. Cleveland Cavaliers – November 6th, 2011
By: Breene Murphy
The most important part of this game is the date: November 6th. If I’m watching this game, then the season has started on time and I get to see Blake, EJ and crew. But the Cavs also mean that the Bearded Wonder comes back, with the wunderkind PG Kyrie Irving in tow. Beyond just being intrigued by how the Cavs’ PGs play, I want to see how the Clippers respond after the Cavs broke their 26 game losing streak last year against the Clips and turned the seemingly mildly valuable first round pick in the BD Trade into the first overall selection.
L.A. Clippers vs. Denver Nuggets – November 21st, 2011
By: Jordan Heimer
One under-reported aspect of Blakemania was just how little veteran players enjoyed it. A handful (Lamar Odom, for instance) criticized Blake to reporters, but longtime Clipper nemesis Andre Miller quickly established himself as Lead Hater. First, he pancaked Griffin with an open-field tackle. Then he criticized Blake’s All-Star selection, claiming his frequent highlight appearances “isolate him from the team.” The irony isn’t lost on Clipper fans, who remember how Miller came to the Clips in a trade for fan-favorite Darius Miles, and proceeded to basically sleepwalk through an excruciating 27-55 season.
“Essentially,” Miller griped, “[Griffin] ain’t made nobody better.”
Uh huh, Andre. We look forward to your visit.
L.A. Clippers at New York Knicks – December 17th, 2011
By: Nick Flynt
Possibly the most ridiculous dunks of Blake Griffin’s young career came in Staples against the Knicks last season, but the Clippers actually lost that game. Later in the season, Blake and Co. again feasted (albeit with less flash) against the Knicks’ defense in Madison Square Garden, coming out with a win.
It’s safe to assume that the Knicks won’t be bringing too much more defense to the table next season, and I’m hoping the Clippers win the highlights and the game on NBA TV when this game airs on a Saturday afternoon in December.
L.A. Clippers at L.A. Lakers – December 27th, 2011
By: Kevin Arnovitz
The Lakers might be on the decline, but that makes the first intra-city matchup of 2011-12 all the more intriguing. The Clippers are at least one generation and a few NBA titles away from threatening the Lakers’ civic supremacy, but Blake Griffin’s star power has accelerated that process. If the Clippers can notch a 3-1 season series win over the Lakers, that will go a long way toward establishing this rivalry on a more level playing field.
L.A. Clippers at Miami Heat – February 7th, 2012
By: Breene Murphy
Looking back on the last season, the game that sticks out the most to me is the Clippers mid-January win over the Heat, when the Clips seemed to be running on all cylinders. Blake had 24 and 14, another double-double, and served the league notice that the Clippers were (well, at least at the time) for real. Then, of course, they stumbled on the road, getting crushed by the Heat in Miami. With one year’s growth and Mo now running point duties, I’ll be hoping that the Clippers can show their maturity, and maybe have a season defining win in hostile territory.
L.A. Clippers at Minnesota Timberwolves – April 12th, 2012
By: Charlie Widdoes
By April 12, both teams will be reasonably sure about the success or failure of their seasons. Yet while the Clippers figure to have more reason for optimism that this game will have meaningful impact on the playoffs, they (and we) should be equally interested in Minnesota’s performance. Because while it will be great to see Ricky Rubio and Derrick Williams in action, as well as another matchup between perhaps the league’s best two young power forwards, Kevin Love and Blake Griffin, it’s all about the biggest wild card in the NBA: Minnesota’s unprotected first round pick, property of the Clips.
L.A. Clippers vs. Oklahoma City Thunder – April 16th, 2012
By: Jovan Buha
Thus far, the Oklahoma City Thunder have been the gold standard for how to build a young franchise from the ground up. The Clippers, to an extent, have tried mirroring OKC’s transformation, using Blake and EJ as their own version of KD and Russ, and hoping DJ, Aminu and Bledsoe can turn into Ibaka, Harden and Maynor. At this point in the season, it’ll be interesting to see how far the Clippers have come, and how far they’ll still have to go before they can actually contend with the Thunder.