As we mentioned, with the exception of the imbalance in games played vs. Western Conference opponents, the season schedule is a fixed entity.  But the contour of the schedule can have a huge effect on how a season proceeds.  A successful trip back east can energize a team.  Getting off to a slow start can ignite turmoil and self-doubt.  Too many blocks of four-games-in-five-nights can exhaust a squad.  

So what does the 2008-09 schedule have to offer the Clippers?

FIRST TEN

10.29      Lakers

10.30      Denver

11.01      @ Utah

11.02      Utah

11.05      @ Lakers

11.07   Houston

11.09   Dallas

11.12   Sacramento

11.15   Golden State

11.17   San Antonio

The Clippers will play nine of their first ten games at Staples.  But they start the season with a brutal stretch and will likely be the underdog in each of their first seven games, Home-Denver being the possible exception.


FOUR GAMES IN FIVE NIGHTS

12.02      @ Dallas

12.03      @ Houston

12.05   @ Memphis

12.06   @ Minnesota


03.14   @ Denver

03.15   New Jersey

03.17   @ Golden State

03.18   Washington

The Clips had only one 4-in-5 block last season, March 25, 26, 28, 29 (@DAL, @SA, @UTA, MEM).  They went 1-3 on the trip (W vs. MEM…go figure).

THE RUGGED EAST COAST SWING

01.30      @ Cleveland

01.31      @ Washington

02.02   @ Miami

02.04   @ Orlando

02.06   @ Memphis

02.07   @ Atlanta

02.09   @ Charlotte

The kind of east coast trip the Clips could feasibly rack up a respectable 3-4 record. 

 
THE LONG HOMESTAND

01.11      Phoenix

01.14      Atlanta

01.17      Milwaukee

01.19   Minnesota

01.21   Lakers

01.23   Oklahoma City

Before the 2006-2007 season, we highlighted a “get fat” stretch.  Unfortunately, this year’s Clipper model can’t be regarded as a home favorite almost every night.  Still, you’d like to think the Clips could go 5-1 on a stretch like this one – beating the likes of ATL, MIL, MIN, OKC, and splitting with PHX and LAL.  And for the Clippers to contend, they’re going to have to.


THE PLAYOFF STRETCH

04.07      Minnesota

04.10      Sacramento

04.11      Portland

04.13   @ Utah

04.15  Oklahoma City

You couldn’t ask for a more generous final five games.  At Utah is a probably L, unless they’re resting guys, and Portland is vastly improved, but the sequence still offers home games against four non-playoff teams.