For the second time in the past six months, Clippers.com released the 2011-12 schedule.
Here are key takeaways from the new schedule:
• When the original schedule came out, 20 of the Clippers’ 82 games were nationally televised (24.4 percent). Now? An uptick to 23 out of 66 (34.8 percent). (10 ESPN, 4 TNT, 9 NBA TV … so technically only 14 regularly national televised games, which is still more than the 13 out of 82 they had originally).
• They have 17 back-to-backs (if you include one back-to-back-to-back as two back-to-backs … a little confusing) and two back-to-back-to-backs (vs. New Jersey/at Utah/vs. Dallas and at Indiana/at Oklahoma City/at New Orleans). That second stretch looks brutal.
• L.A. has two six-game road trips (at Washington/at Orlando/at Cleveland/at Philadelphia/at Charlotte/at Dallas, and at Sacramento/at Phoenix/at Houston/at Minnesota/at New Jersey/at San Antonio). Going 4-2 should be the goal on both road trips (although that appears to be a lofty expectation).
• The Eastern Conference teams they’ll be playing on the road: Washington, Orlando, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Charlotte, New Jersey, Indiana, Atlanta and New York (last game of the season). The Clippers LUCKED out and won’t have to travel to Chicago, Miami or Boston. Huge break there.
• The Hawks, Nets and Wizards are the three Eastern Conference teams the Clippers will be playing twice this season.
• The Clippers will be playing the Jazz, Kings, Mavs, Spurs, Lakers (an utter shock), Rockets, Grizzlies, Hornets only three times. Therefore, they’ll face the Suns, Warriors, Blazers, Nuggets, Timberwolves and Thunder four times (playing Mavs, Lakers, Spurs and Grizzlies only three times is another huge break).
With plenty of national television appearances, relatively easy road trips and avoiding visiting the dreaded top-3 teams out East, the Clips dodged a bullet from the scheduling Gods. Throw in Chris Paul/Dwight Howard and playoffs here they come?