Breaking Down the 2014-15 Schedule
It’s only mid-August, but the 2014-15 NBA season just got a lot closer to starting.
With the release of the regular season schedule today, the Clippers, coming off a franchise-record 57 wins, learned their journey to a fourth consecutive trip to the Playoffs and push towards a first-ever championship will start in the same place last season ended.
The Clippers open the season, Thursday, Oct. 30 at home against the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Thunder, of course, eliminated the Clippers in Game 6 of the Western Conference Semifinals at Staples Center on May 15. Five months later, the Clippers get a small opportunity at a reprieve.
Much like recent years, the Clippers two weeks are loaded with home games. They play seven of their first nine at home and do not leave the state of California until a Nov. 19 date with the Orlando Magic. That game, a Wednesday night in Central Florida, kicks off a seven-game road trip that lasts the duration of November. It is one of two lengthy road trips, something the Clippers dealt with in 2013-14 when they traveled on two seven-game trips before the end of January.
Not much has changed this season. They have their seven-gamer in November and the annual Grammy road trip from Jan. 28 to Feb. 9. The trip spans eight games, two weeks and includes stops in San Antonio, Cleveland, Toronto, Oklahoma City and Dallas. In all, the Clippers’ Grammy trip may be the most challenging ever. They have three sets of back-to-backs during the stretch and six of the eight teams made the 2014 Playoffs, including both Western Conference finalists.
Here are some more things that stand out about the 2014-15 Clippers’ schedule:
- Warriors. Christmas. Rematch. See you at Staples Center.
- There are 19 back-to-backs, including 10 where both games are on the road. The Clippers played 20 back-to-backs in 2012-13 and 17 last season.
- The Clippers play four Western Conference opponents three times (Oklahoma City, New Orleans, Minnesota and Dallas). The home opener is the only regular season game at home versus the Thunder. They travel to OKC twice. Dallas is the only other Western Conference team the Clippers play just once at home. They have one road game and two home games against the Pelicans and Timberwolves.
- They have a home-heavy December though January 11, playing 16 of their 22 games at home and playing just four back-to-backs in that time span. One of those, however, is a bizarre two-game trip that has them traveling to San Antonio on Dec. 22 then Atlanta the following day before returning home.
- Speaking of not traveling, perhaps as a reward for the two killer road trips, most of December and January will be favorable. The Clippers have 10 road games in two months (Dec. 1 to Jan. 26) between their two long trips.
- They play the Knicks at Staples Center on New Year’s Eve in an afternoon tilt at 3 pm.
- For the third year in a row, the Clippers play the Spurs in the first game out of the All-Star break. They lost the previous two games by a combined 36 points.
- The Clippers play the Lakers in consecutive games on Apr. 5 and 7.
- They face the renamed Charlotte Hornets (formerly Charlotte Bobcats) for the first time on Nov. 24.
- There are eight days between games at the All-Star break.
- Arguably, the toughest stretch of the schedule begins with the Grammy road trip and ends St. Patrick’s Day (Mar. 17). They play 15 of their 23 games away from home and while the All-Star break helps break up the slate of games the quality of opponents has potential to be relentless. The Clippers play the Rockets three times and the Thunder, Spurs and Grizzlies twice apiece. Overall, the 23 games include 18 against teams that made the 2014 postseason. That’s not accounting for the marked improvement of 33-win Cleveland with the acquisition of LeBron James.