CLIPPERS 2012-13 SCHEDULE ANALYSIS

7/26/12

The Clippers schedule is full of intriguing stretches, including a franchise-record 30 nationally televised games on ABC, ESPN, TNT, and NBA TV. Here’s a look at some noteworthy things to look for after the season tips off on Oct. 31.

Let the countdown to opening night begin.

The NBA released its regular season schedule Thursday with the Clippers beginning their 2012-13 campaign at Staples Center on Halloween against the Memphis Grizzlies. CLICK HERE FOR 2012-13 CLIPPERS SCHEDULE

The season tips off pitting the Clippers and Grizzlies in a rematch of last season’s best first-round playoff series. The teams finished within a game of each other in the standings and are expected to be contenders once again. Game No. 1 could, however, be quickly forgotten. Two days after their season commences, the Clippers take on the Lakers in the first of four meetings between the intra-city rivals.

Overall, the 82-game slate includes 30 nationally televised games, a franchise record. The Clippers will make 26 appearances on NBA TV, TNT, and ESPN and play four Sunday afternoon games on ABC.

Arguably, the most difficult stretch of the schedule for the Clippers comes in the first month. They face the Heat, Bulls, Spurs, and Thunder, who combined to win 73% of their games in 2011-12, as well as the revamped Nets in consecutive games from Jan. 14-23.Here are some additional things that immediately standout about the Clippers’ schedule:

  • The Clippers have a week off at the All-Star break. They face the Lakers on Feb. 14 and don’t play again until Feb. 21 at home against the Spurs. Of course, Blake Griffin, Chris Paul and others may be busy that weekend.
  • The Clippers play nine games to open the year without leaving the Pacific Coast, including just two road games versus the Lakers and Trail Blazers.
  • There are 20 back-to-backs on the schedule, including 10 on the road. Among eight occasions when games in consecutive days are split between home and away, only three times is the home game the second leg of the back-to-back.
  • Lakers-Clippers will span four months, with games in November, January, February, and a potential Pacific Division deciding tilt on April 7.
  • With a deal for a new arena still tenuous, the season finale on April 17 could double as the final game in the City of Sacramento.
  • The Clippers play at the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn for the first time on Nov. 23. It also is the third leg of their first multi-game road trip, which begins Nov. 19 in San Antonio before going to Oklahoma City. The trip concludes in Atlanta on Nov. 24.
  • The furthest distance the Clippers travel for a back-to-back is roughly 1,200 miles from Denver to Oakland on January 1st and 2nd.
  • They’ll also rack up the frequent flyer miles during the annual Grammy road trip. Beginning Jan. 30, the Clippers make stops in Minnesota, Toronto, Boston, Washington, Orlando, Miami, New York, and finally Philadelphia. The trip lasts eight games and exceeds 8,500 total miles traveled.
  • Five road trips last three games or longer.
  • There are three instances of four games in five nights on the schedule. Arguably, the toughest is March 26-30, when they visit all three Texas teams and New Orleans.
  • Clipper fans will get their first look at No. 1 pick Anthony Davis on Monday, Jan. 26 when the Hornets come to Staples Center.
  • Much like last season when they played a home and away back-to-back with a single opponent, the Clippers take on the Blazers at the Rose Garden Jan. 26 and the following day at Staples Center.
  • Eight of the Clippers’ 41 home games will be in the day.
  • From New Year’s Day to Valentine’s Day the Clippers play 18 of 26 games on the road.
  • After a grueling 20 games in 31 days in March last season, they play no more than 16 games in a month in 2012-13.

FAMILIAR FACES

The following games are first-time matchups against some prominent former Clippers.

  • Thurs., Nov. 8 at Portland. The Clippers face the new-look Trail Blazers and former Vice President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey. It is also the team’s first game away from Los Angeles, nine days after opening the season on Halloween.
  • Fri., Nov. 23 at Brooklyn. Fan-favorite and surprising playoff star Reggie Evans, who was dealt to the Nets in a sign-and-trade deal this offseason, will take the court as a member of Brooklyn’s lineup.
  • Mon, Dec. 3 at Utah. The Clippers’ first trip to Salt Lake City comes sandwiched between six home games. It will also mark the first time guards Randy Foye and Mo Williams face their former team. The Jazz and Clippers play three times in the month of December.
  • Wed., Dec. 5 vs. Dallas. Fans have seen Chris Kaman and Elton Brand in games against the Clippers before, but never as a duo. Brand and Kaman, who were vital to the Clippers’ 2006 run to the Western Conference Semifinals, were reunited with the Mavericks this offseason.
  • Mon., Feb. 11 at Philadelphia. The conclusion of the Clippers’ Grammy trip will also mark Nick Young’s first game against his hometown team. In 22 regular season games with the Clippers last season, Young averaged 14.9 points, but ramped that up to 18.2 in his 11 postseason games, including a team-high 19 in the Clippers’ historic comeback over the Grizzlies.

HOMECOMINGS

Center Ryan Hollins, who is from Pasadena, will get to play 43 regular season games less than 30 miles from his hometown. However, a number of other Clippers players will not return home as often. Here is a look at the first time a few other members of the roster go back to the places they call home:

  • Blake Griffin (Oklahoma City, OK) at Oklahoma City, Nov. 21
  • Chris Paul (Winston-Salem, NC) at Charlotte, Dec. 12
  • Chauncey Billups (Denver, CO) at Denver, Jan. 1
  • Caron Butler (Racine, WI) at Milwaukee, Dec. 15
  • Lamar Odom (Queens, NY) at New York, Feb. 10 (or at Brooklyn, Nov. 23)
  • DeAndre Jordan (Houston, TX) at Houston, Jan. 15
  • Trey Thompkins (Norcross, GA) and Travis Leslie (Decatur, GA) at Atlanta, Nov. 24