All of our hopes and dreams have been realized — the Clippers will play a full, 82-game regular season schedule this year.
They will not be among the six teams to open the season on Tuesday, October 30, but they will host the Grizzlies the next night, on Halloween, and continue to lace ’em up a couple times a week for the next six months. Some early observations on how the rest of the schedule shapes up:
- After opening up with the playoff rematch against Memphis, they’ll play “at” the Lakers on November 2nd. Lamar Odom won’t have to wait long to face his former team. That’s also last year’s Western Conference 3 and 4 seeds to start the year.
- On November 8, they’ll visit Portland and their former general manager, Neil Olshey. We’ll get to see Damian Lillard go against Chris Paul (and hopefully Eric Bledsoe), LaMarcus Aldridge and Blake Griffin, and of course, DeAndre Jordan vs. Meyers Leonard.
- On December 3, the Mavericks come to Staples. We get an opportunity to jump into our time warp machines and watch the Clippers front court of the mid-2000’s do battle with the Clippers front court of the 2010’s, which now has Lamar Odom, who was part of the Clippers front court in the early 2000’s, and last played for the Mavs.
- On January 14, the Clippers will return to Memphis, the site of perhaps the two most important games in franchise history: the Game 1 comeback and the win in Game 7.
- The eight games from January 30 to February 11 comprise the Clippers’ longest road trip of the year. They will play Minnesota, Toronto, Boston, Washington, Orlando, Miami, New York, and Philadelphia during this stretch.
- Almost a year to the day after they hit rock bottom with a loss to the Hornets in New Orleans — before they rattled off a 13-2 stretch — the Clippers will return to the Big Easy on March 27. Chris Paul’s return was greeted with mostly cheers, but the place was charged with emotion and the Clippers, especially Blake Griffin, felt the intensity of players and fans alike. Add Anthony Davis to the mix, and this could be the most exciting game of the year. Eric Gordon might even play.
- The regular season concludes on April 17, in Sacramento. The Kings are one of the few Western Conference teams that we can be reasonably sure will not be a playoff contender. So if playoff seeding is up in the air, there are worse matchups you could hope for to end the year.