NEW YORK (Mikeylito.com) Believe it or not, the Clippers are going through the easiest part of their schedule right now.
Like every other NBA club, the Clippers will play 66 games, 33 of them at Staples Center. The Clippers will play those 66 games in 123 days. That’s a ratio of 1.86 days per game. In other words, the Clippers will play at least three to four games each week. Indeed, there isn’t a single week on the club’s schedule in which they are scheduled less than three games, with the exception of Week 9, leading into the All-Star break when they play two games, Monday and Wednesday.
It is widely accepted that back-to-back games are tortuous on any ball club. This year, however, in order to accommodate the condensed 66-game schedule, the Association scheduled each club, at least, one back-to-back-to-back series of games; rather, three games on three consecutive days.
The Clippers have 20 sets of back-to-back games, of which two sets are back-to-back-to-back. This is where things get interesting. Right now, as the season enters Week 3 Sunday, the Clippers have a relatively light schedule, with three games each week and no back-to-back games.
Their first back-to-back set of games is Tuesday at Portland returning to Staples on Wednesday to play Miami.
Starting with the home game against the Lakers on January 14, the Clippers will play 8 games in 12 days (ratio: 1.63), including the first of the two back-to-back-to-back series against the Nets and Mavericks at Staples Center with a road game at Salt Lake in between. The seventh of those eight games is the “road” game against the Lakers on January 25.
With two days off following that eighth game, the schedule doesn’t let up until the All-Star break. The Clippers play five games in Week 6, four games in Weeks 7 and 8, concluding with the two going into the break. That’s a total of 15 games in 25 days (ratio: 1.67).
[Far be it from me to advise Clipper management and players what to do. If it were me, I wouldn’t want my players to go to Orlando for the NBA’s All-Star Weekend.]
Coming out of the All-Star break, the schedule resumes with a vengeance until nearly two weeks before the end of the regular season. Assuming the Clippers are in playoff position, they’ll need those two weeks to rest the roster going into the first round.
Starting Tuesday following the All-Star break, the Clippers play three games in four days (1.33), seven games in 11 days (1.60), 13 games in 20 days (1.60), 17 games in 26 days (1.53) or 21 games in 33 days (1.60). It all depends on how you want to slice it.
Included in that onerous schedule is the second of the back-to-back-to-back series, which if you haven’t been aware is completely on the road. The Clippers play road games on March 20, 21 and 22 in Indianapolis, Oklahoma City and New Orleans before taking a travel/rest day before playing Memphis at Staples Center on the 24th.
So, writing all this is just my way of saying the following:
Player conditioning is going to be extremely important for the Clippers throughout the season, but especially going into and out of the All-Star break.
And so it goes.