L.A. Clippers 2012-13 Schedule: Monthly Breakdown and W-L Predictions

Imaz ACorrespondent IIJuly 30, 2012

L.A. Clippers 2012-13 Schedule: Monthly Breakdown and W-L Predictions

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    For years, the Los Angeles Clippers were the NBA’s laughing stock.

    Last December, the Clippers fortunes finally changed when they acquired Chris Paul from the New Orleans Hornets.

    The Clippers went on to have arguably their best year in franchise history as Paul and Blake Griffin carried the team to a playoff appearance.

    Although the Clippers were swept by the Spurs in the second round, the future still looks bright.

    The Clippers made some nice signings and trades this offseason to improve their bench.

    With the additions of Jamal Crawford, Grant Hill and Lamar Odom, and a core of Paul and Griffin, expectations for the Clippers are getting higher.

    Now, unlike before, the Clippers are expected to make the playoffs and pose a threat to contending teams.

    But, the question remains: Will they meet these expectations?

    In 2012-13, the Clippers will find out. 

October/November Schedule

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    -Wednesday, October 31st vs. Memphis Grizzlies

    -Friday, November 2nd @ Los Angeles Lakers

    -Saturday, November 3rd vs. Golden State Warriors

    -Monday, November 5th vs. Cleveland Cavaliers

    -Wednesday, November 7th vs. San Antonio Spurs

    -Thursday, November 8th @ Portland Trail Blazers

    -Sunday, November 11th vs. Atlanta Hawks

    -Wednesday, November 14th vs. Miami Heat

    -Saturday, November 17th vs. Chicago Bulls

    -Monday, November 19th @ San Antonio Spurs

    -Wednesday, November 21st @ Oklahoma City Thunder

    -Friday, November 23rd @ Brooklyn Nets

    -Saturday, November 24th @ Atlanta Hawks

    -Monday, November 26th vs. New Orleans Hornets

    -Wednesday, November 28th vs. Minnesota Timberwolves 

Key October/November Games

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    Wednesday, October 31st vs. Memphis Grizzlies

    The Clippers kick off the 2012-13 season at home against the team they beat in last year’s playoffs: the Memphis Grizzlies.

    It seemed that every one of the Clippers-Grizzlies playoff games was an instant classic, each one decided in the final minutes, which is why I expect the first game these two teams play against each other to be an exciting one.

    The Clippers are an up-and-coming team, hoping to breakthrough this season to get to the NBA Finals.

    In order to do so, however, they must prove they can consistently beat another up-and-coming team, the Memphis Grizzlies.


    Friday, November 2nd @ Los Angeles Lakers

    In years past, Clippers-Lakers games were dull—the Lakers were always favorites over the lowly Clippers.

    However, since the Clippers acquired Chris Paul, the Clippers and Lakers have become inner-city rivals.

    Now that the Lakers have acquired Steve Nash and have become a contending team, the stakes have only gotten higher for the Clippers to beat them and prove themselves as a playoff team that can make a deep run.

    Although the game is in Los Angeles, it’s a home game for the Lakers. I expect the stands to be full of Lakers fans, which will make it a hostile environment for the Clippers to play in.


    Wednesday, November 14th vs. Miami Heat

    November will be a tough month for the Clippers, as they will face a number of playoff teams.

    The toughest test for the Clippers, however, will be against the defending champions, the Miami Heat.

    Although this game is at home and comes after a few days of rest, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and the Heat’s plethora of three-points shooters may be too much to handle.


    Monday, November 19th @ San Antonio Spurs

    The November 19th game against the San Antonio Spurs marks the beginning of four-game road trip for the Clippers.

    As Chris Paul faces opposing all-star point guard Tony Parker, the Clippers will look to redeem themselves after being embarrassingly swept by the Spurs in last year’s playoffs. 


    Wednesday, November 21st @ Oklahoma City Thunder

    The Clippers will face another tough test against the defending Western Conference champions, the Oklahoma City Thunder.

    To represent the West in the NBA Finals, the Clippers will have to go through Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and the Thunder at some point.

    On November 21st, the Clippers will have the chance to prove to themselves that they are a serious threat. 


    Friday, November 23rd @ Brooklyn Nets

    In the third game of their four-game road trip, the Chris Paul-Deron Williams rivalry may be renewed as the Clippers take on the new-look Brooklyn Nets.


    October/November W-L Prediction: 10-5

    Wins: Grizzlies, Warriors, Cavaliers, Trailblazers, Hawks (2), Bulls, Nets, Hornets, Timberwolves

    Losses: Lakers, Spurs (2), Heat, Thunder

Preview and Predictions for October/November

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    Best One-on-One Matchup of October/November

    From Steve Nash to Russell Westbrook to Tony Parker, it’s evident that Chris Paul will face a number of great point guards in the first month of the Clippers’ season.

    However, the most intriguing matchup for Chris Paul will come against Nets point guard Deron Williams.

    Just a couple years ago, fans and analysts argued constantly whether Paul or Williams was the best point guard in the NBA.

    With the emergence of other great point guards, this debate has ceased and the once fierce rivalry came to an end.

    Now that both Paul and Williams are on playoff-contending teams, it’s possible that the rivalry between these dynamic point guards may start again when the Clippers and Nets face each other on November 23rd.


    Clippers’ Best-Case Scenario for October/November

    The first month of the season will be challenging, to say the least.

    Not only do they face tough playoff teams like the Lakers, Spurs (twice), Thunder and Heat, many of these games are on the road.

    However, if all goes well, it’s possible that the Clippers can grind out a couple of road victories against these teams and end the month with a record of 12-3.

    If that happens, the Clippers will be taken seriously as a contender.


    Clippers’ Worst-Case Scenario for October/November

    The Clippers added a number of new key players in the offseason including Jamal Crawford and Lamar Odom.

    While the Clippers’ bench looks strong, it’s certainly possible that the new and old pieces will not mesh right away, leading to on-court problems.

    In addition, although Blake Griffin is set to make a full recovery by the start of this season, his knee may become an issue.

    Furthermore, a number of the teams that the Clippers will play have three potential all-stars—that may end up being too much to handle.

    These factors could lead the Clippers to play poorly during their first month and their record could be as low as 8-7. 

December Schedule

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    -Saturday, December 1st vs. Sacramento Kings

    -Monday, December 3rd @ Utah Jazz

    -Wednesday, December 5th vs. Dallas Mavericks

    -Saturday, December 8th vs. Phoenix Suns

    -Sunday, December 9th vs. Toronto Raptors

    -Tuesday, December 11th @ Chicago Bulls

    -Wednesday, December 12th @ Charlotte Bobcats

    -Saturday, December 15th @ Milwaukee Bucks

    -Monday, December 17th @ Detroit Pistons

    -Wednesday, December 19th vs. New Orleans Hornets

    -Friday, December 21st vs. Sacramento Kings

    -Sunday, December 23rd @ Phoenix Suns

    -Tuesday, December 25th vs. Denver Nuggets

    -Thursday, December 27th vs. Boston Celtics

    -Friday, December 28th @ Utah Jazz

    -Sunday, December 30th vs. Utah Jazz

Key December Games

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    Tuesday, December 25th vs. Denver Nuggets

    On Christmas Day, the Los Angeles Clippers will take on another athletically gifted, high-flying team, the Denver Nuggets.

    Not only will this be exhilarating to watch because of the number of alley-oops we’ll see, but it’s also a matchup between two potential playoff teams that hope to be a major threat against Western Conference superpowers like the Thunder, Spurs and Lakers.   


    Thursday, December 27th vs. Boston Celtics

    Two days after Christmas, the Clippers will face an older, but more experienced team in the Boston Celtics.

    It will be intriguing to see how a high-flying team like the Clippers will score against a defensive-minded Celtics team.

    In addition, the Clippers big two, Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, will be tested by Rajon Rondo and Kevin Garnett


    December W-L Prediction: 10-6

    Wins: Kings (2), Suns, Raptors, Bobcats, Pistons, Hornets, Suns, Nuggets, Jazz

    Losses: Jazz (2), Mavericks, Bulls, Bucks, Celtics

Preview and Predictions for December

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    Best One-on-One Matchup of December

    Similar to the months of October and November, Chris Paul will face a number of great point guards in the month of December.

    His toughest test will come against Rajon Rondo of the Celtics.

    Both Paul and Rondo are elite passers who can get to the rim at will.

    Paul and Rondo are elite defenders as well—both made all-defensive teams last season.

    Paul has one key advantage over Rondo, however—he can consistently hit a perimeter jump shot.

    Paul will look to exploit this skill against Rondo and the Celtics’ defense. 


    Clippers’ Best-Case Scenario for December

    December will be a considerably easier month for the Clippers than October/November.

    While they face a number of playoff teams, the only face one contending team, the Boston Celtics.

    If the Clippers play to their utmost potential, they can easily defeat all of the lottery teams they face, in addition to playoff teams like the Mavericks, Nuggets, and Jazz. Their record could potentially be 13-3.


    Clippers’ Worst-Case Scenario for December

    The Clippers play four straight games on the road from December 11th to the 17th.

    The Clippers played poorly on the road last season and, if their troubles continue, the Clippers four-game road trip may turn out badly. Defensive minded teams like the Bulls and Bucks can surprise anybody.

    Additionally, it’s possible that the Clippers will falter against potential playoff teams—the Jazz, Nuggets and Mavericks are capable of beating them.

    If these scenarios become a reality, the Clippers’ December record may be 8-8. 

January Schedule

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    -Tuesday, January 1st @ Denver Nuggets

    -Wednesday, January 2nd @ Golden State Warriors

    -Friday, January 4th vs. Los Angeles Lakers

    -Saturday, January 5th vs. Golden State Warriors

    -Wednesday, January 9th vs. Dallas Mavericks

    -Saturday, January 12th vs. Orlando Magic

    -Monday, January 14th @ Memphis Grizzlies

    -Tuesday, January 15th @ Houston Rockets

    -Thursday, January 17th @ Minnesota Timberwolves

    -Saturday, January 19th vs. Washington Wizards

    -Monday, January 21st @ Golden State Warriors

    -Tuesday, January 22nd vs. Oklahoma City Thunder

    -Thursday, January 24th @ Phoenix Suns

    -Saturday, January 26th @ Portland Trail Blazers

    -Sunday, January 27th vs. Portland Trail Blazers

    -Wednesday, January 30th @ Minnesota Timberwolves 

Key January Games

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    Friday, January 4th vs. Los Angeles Lakers

    The Clippers and Lakers battle once again on January 4th.

    This time, however, the Clippers will look to using their home court to their advantage.

    Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum may have an advantage inside, but Chris Paul will look to use his athleticism, speed and defense to overpower the Lakers’ backcourt and come out of the game with the Clippers as the winning team.


    Monday, January 14th @ Memphis Grizzlies

    The Clippers face the Grizzlies again, but in Memphis this time.

    This battle between playoff teams and potential contenders may come down to the wire.

    The Grizzlies will use their frontcourt of Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph to overpower the Clippers, but the Clippers will look to use Chris Paul and their dynamic bench to get the upper hand. 


    Tuesday, January 22nd vs. Oklahoma City Thunder

    Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and the Clippers will battle the Oklahoma City Thunder at home on January 22nd.

    As Paul and Russell Westbrook will exchange buckets, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan will use their athleticism to manipulate the Thunder’s frontcourt.

    Meanwhile, the Clippers will have trouble guarding Kevin Durant, who will make use of his length and jump shot to lead his team to victory. 


    January W-L Prediction: 10-6

    Wins: Warriors (2), Lakers, Mavericks, Magic, Rockets, Wizards, Suns, Trailblazers, Timberwolves

    Losses: Nuggets, Warriors, Grizzlies, Timberwolves, Thunder, Trailblazers

Preview and Predictions for January

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    Best One-on-One Matchup of January

    Although he has only played two full seasons, Blake Griffin has quickly emerged as one of the best power forwards in the league—yet, many still believe he is overrated.

    Griffin will look to improve his status against Pau Gasol and the Lakers on January 4th.

    Gasol is a great offensive post player who has been on an elite level for quite a while.

    If Griffin uses his youth and athleticism to out-rebound and outscore Gasol, he will prove to the basketball world that he is capable of dominating the best competition and that he’s worthy of his title as one of the best power forwards in the league. 


    Clippers’ Best-Case Scenario for January

    The Clippers will face a diverse combination of contending teams, playoff teams and lottery teams in the month of January.

    Fortunately, many of the games the Clippers will play against upper-echelon teams will take place at home.

    If the Clippers use their home-court to their advantage and beat the teams that they are clearly better than, they can end the month with a record of 13-3. 


    Clippers’ Worst-Case Scenario for January

    Teams who missed the playoffs last year, like the Golden State Warriors and Portland Trail Blazers, can surprise any team on any given night.

    Also, the Clippers can falter against playoff teams like the Thunder, Lakers and Mavericks.

    If these factors come into fruition, the Clippers may end January with an 8-8 record. 

February Schedule

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    -Friday, February 1st @ Toronto Raptors

    -Sunday, February 3rd @ Boston Celtics

    -Monday, February 4th @ Washington Wizards

    -Wednesday, February 6th @ Orlando Magic

    -Friday, February 8th @ Miami Heat

    -Sunday, February 10th @ New York Knicks

    -Monday, February 11th @ Philadelphia 76ers

    -Wednesday, February 13th vs. Houston Rockets

    -Thursday, February 14th @ Los Angeles Lakers

    -Thursday, February 21st vs. San Antonio Spurs

    -Saturday, February 23rd vs. Utah Jazz

    -Tuesday, February 26th vs. Charlotte Bobcats

    -Thursday, February 28th @ Indiana Pacers

Key February Games

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    Sunday, February 3rd @ Boston Celtics

    The Clippers and Celtics match up once again only this time it’s in Boston.

    The TD Garden is tough place to play for any team, and I expect the Clippers to have some trouble battling Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and the die-hard Celtics fans. 


    Friday, February 8th @ Miami Heat

    Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and the Clippers will have their hands full keeping up with the Miami Heat in American Airlines Arena.

    In order to win this game, Paul needs to take advantage because the Heat are especially weak at the point guard position.

    At the same time, Griffin must take advantage of his matchup with Chris Bosh.

    Only then will the Clippers have a chance of beating the overwhelming Miami Heat. 


    Sunday, February 10th @ New York Knicks

    This will be an exciting game to watch because Madison Square Garden is always an electric atmosphere to play in.

    Chris Paul will need to exploit his skills against the Knicks’ weak backcourt, as Blake Griffin and Amar’e Stoudemire battle it out.

    Lamar Odom, Jamal Crawford, Grant Hill and the rest of the Clippers bench will have an advantage, but Carmelo Anthony will be a tough cover. 


    Thursday, February 14th @ Los Angeles Lakers

    Any time these two teams play will be must-see television.

    On Valentine’s Day, the Clippers and Lakers will clash again and the Chris Paul-Steve Nash and Blake Griffin-Pau Gasol matchups will be intriguing. 


    Thursday, February 21st vs. San Antonio Spurs

    The Clippers will take on the San Antonio Spurs once again on February 21st.

    While Tony Parker and Tim Duncan will garner the Clippers’ attention on defense, Manu Ginobili will be the x-factor considering the Clippers lack a reliable defensive 2-guard. The Clippers will need to find a way to stop him in order to win this game.   


    Thursday, February 28th @ Indiana Pacers

    The Indiana Pacers are a sneaky team in the East that the Clippers will have trouble beating.

    Roy Hibbert and David West will be a handful for Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan.

    Playing in Indiana won’t help the Clippers’ cause too much either.


    February W-L Prediction: 8-5

    Wins: Raptors, Wizards, Magic, Knicks, Rockets, Spurs, Jazz, Bobcats

    Losses: Celtics, Heat, 76ers, Lakers, Pacers

Preview and Predictions for February

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    Best One-on-One Matchup for February

    Chris Paul has become one of the purest passers in the NBA over the past few seasons.

    On February 14th, Paul’s elite passing skills will put up against those of Steve Nash. Surely, this will make for a captivating matchup.

    While Nash creates better shots for his teammates according to hoopdata.com, it will be fascinating to see how Paul uses his defense and ability to get to the rim to out-do him and lead his team to a victory.


    Clippers’ Best-Case Scenario for February

    Although February will be difficult for the Clippers to get through, it’s possible that they can win a few of the tough games on the road.

    If this happens, and if they avoid losing to weaker teams, the Clippers may be 10-3 during the month. 


    Clippers’ Worst-Case Scenario for February

    February will be one of the Clippers’ toughest months of the season as they will face elite teams like the Heat, Spurs, Lakers and Celtics.

    Unfortunately, many of these games will come on the road—the Clippers have an eight-game road trip in February.

    In addition, many of these teams have a big advantage in the frontcourt—LeBron James, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum, Kevin Garnett, Roy Hibbert and David West will be a lot for the Clippers to handle.

    This, in addition to fatigue and lack of fan support, may cause the Clippers to lose many of their games, and their record for February may turn out to be 7-8. 

March Schedule

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    -Friday, March 1st @ Cleveland Cavaliers

    -Sunday, March 3rd vs. Oklahoma City Thunder

    -Wednesday, March 6th vs. Milwaukee Bucks

    -Thursday, March 7th @ Denver Nuggets

    -Sunday, March 10th vs. Detroit Pistons

    -Wednesday, March 13th vs. Memphis Grizzlies

    -Sunday, March 17th vs. New York Knicks

    -Tuesday, March 19th @ Sacramento Kings

    -Wednesday, March 20th vs. Philadelphia 76ers

    -Saturday, March 23rd vs. Brooklyn Nets

    -Tuesday, March 26th @ Dallas Mavericks

    -Wednesday, March 27h @ New Orleans Hornets

    -Friday, March 29th @ San Antonio Spurs

    -Saturday, March 30th @ Houston Rockets

Key March Games

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    Sunday, March 3rd vs. Oklahoma City Thunder

    The Clippers face the Thunder for the last time in the regular season on March 3rd.

    Kevin Durant will cause problems for the Clippers, but playing at home will help them significantly, especially because, at this point, the playoffs are on the horizon. 


    Thursday, March 7th @ Denver Nuggets

    The Clippers and Nuggets will play another exciting game that I’m sure will be full of dunks, dunks and more dunks. 


    Wednesday, March 13th vs. Memphis Grizzlies

    The Clippers play the Grizzlies for a third time on March 13th.

    The Grizzlies frontcourt will always cause problems, but Rudy Gay may become an even bigger pest for the Clippers.

    Nonetheless, I expect the Clippers to take care of the Grizzlies at home.


    Sunday, March 17th vs. New York Knicks

    This time the Knicks will come to Los Angeles to take on the Clippers.

    Chris Paul will take advantage of his matchup but Carmelo Anthony may be due for a big game.


    Saturday, March 23rd vs. Brooklyn Nets

    Deron Williams and the Brooklyn Nets will face Chris Paul and the Clippers once more, this time in Los Angeles.

    The Paul-Williams matchup will be one to look forward too.

    Joe Johnson will provide mismatch problems for the Clippers, and Griffin and Jordan shouldn’t have too much trouble out-rebounding the Nets’ frontcourt.  


    Friday, March 29th @ San Antonio Spurs

    The Spurs are dominant in the regular season, which is why this will be yet another difficult game for the Clippers to close out a hectic month.


    March W-L Prediction: 10-4

    Wins: Cavaliers, Thunder, Bucks, Nuggets, Pistons, Grizzlies, Kings, 76ers, Hornets, Rockets

    Losses: Knicks, Nets, Mavericks, Spurs

Preview and Predictions for March

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    Best One-on-One Matchup for March

    It goes without saying that Chris Paul is an elite point guard.

    In fact, he was once considered the very best before athletic point guards like Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder came into consideration.

    On March 3rd, Paul will attempt to outplay Westbrook.

    Both Paul and Westbrook are great scorers, but Paul will need to use his passing skills to outshine his matchup and lead the Clippers to a win at home. 


    Clippers’ Best-Case Scenario for March

    The Clippers face a number of playoff teams in March, but a lot of these games will take place in Los Angeles.

    If Chris Paul and Blake Griffin step it up and the Clippers utilize their home-court advantage, the team could go an impressive 12-2 in March.  


    Clippers’ Worst-Case Scenario for March

    Undoubtedly, the Thunder and Spurs will be tough teams to beat, and the Clippers can easily lose to them.

    In addition, the Nuggets, Grizzlies, Nets, Mavericks and the defensive-minded Bucks could all pose challenges to the Clippers.

    If the Clippers fail to overcome these challenges, their March record could be 8-7. 

April Schedule

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    -Monday, April 1st vs. Indiana Pacers

    -Wednesday, April 3rd vs. Phoenix Suns

    -Sunday, April 7th vs. Los Angeles Lakers

    -Wednesday, April 10th vs. Minnesota Timberwolves

    -Friday, April 12th @ New Orleans Hornets

    -Saturday, April 13th @ Memphis Grizzlies

    -Tuesday, April 16th vs. Portland Trail Blazers

    -Wednesday, April 17th @ Sacramento Kings

Key April Games

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    Monday, April 1st vs. Indiana Pacers

    On April Fool’s day, the Clippers will take on take on the Pacers at home.

    Again, the Pacers’ frontcourt will a lot to handle, which is why Chris Paul and the Clippers’ bench needs to dominate.

    Sunday, April 7th vs. Los Angeles Lakers

    Last April, the Lakers and Clippers played an intense game down to the wire—the Clippers lost 113-108.

    Even though it’s April and the playoffs are getting extremely close, I expect this game to be almost as intense.

    Wednesday, April 10th vs. Minnesota Timberwolves

    Ricky Rubio should be back for the Timberwolves at this point, which is why this game is must-see T.V.

    Rubio and Chris Paul will take turns showing off their passing skills, while Kevin Love and Blake Griffin battle in the post.

    Saturday, April 13th @ Memphis Grizzlies

    The Clippers will look to close off their season with a game against the Grizzlies.

    At this point, either team could be resting their starters for the playoffs—this game could very easily be a throw away.


    April W-L Prediction: 4-4


    Wins: Pacers, Suns, Hornets, Trailblazers

    Losses: Lakers, Grizzlies, Timberwolves, Kings

Preview and Predictions for April

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    Best One-on-One Matchup for April

    Blake Griffin isn’t the only emerging young power forward in the league—Kevin Love has surely made a name for himself too.

    On April 10th, Griffin has the opportunity to assert dominance over Kevin Love.

    Both are high-volume rebounders that play every possession, which means neither will back down from the challenge.

    In addition, both are cornerstones for their franchises, which is why it will be intriguing to determine which is more valuable. 


    Clippers’ Best-Case Scenario for April

    The Clippers’ April schedule is relatively easy compared to the rest of the year.

    If they play hard every game and don’t rest their starters, the Clippers could have an April record of 7-1. 


    Clippers’ Worst-Case Scenario for April

    The Clippers may decide to rest their starters for the playoffs, or they may falter down the stretch.

    Either way, their April record could end up being 3-5.

Final Predictions

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    Final Record: 52-30 

    The Los Angeles Clippers will certainly be a playoff team next season.

    Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, as well as the team’s additions, Jamal Crawford, Lamar Odom, and Grant Hill will benefit from training camp and other offseason activities, which should allow the Clippers to become a cohesive unit a lot quicker than last year.

    Although the Clippers will be a threat in the West, there will a number of things that will get in their way of becoming a contending team.

    Firstly, Chris Paul logged significant minutes in a condensed season last year, and he will log even more minutes this summer during the Olympics.

    The Clippers need Paul to play at an elite level to be successful, but a lack of recovery time has the potential of hindering Paul’s abilities during the regular season.

    Furthermore, Blake Griffin’s meniscus injury could be a problem, too.

    Although he’s expected to be ready for next season, his injury will prevent him from improving his game during the offseason.

    Griffin is, indeed, an athletic force in the NBA, but he lacks the offensive versatility to be considered an unstoppable force.

    The Clippers’ hole at 2-guard will also be an issue.

    Players like Chauney Billups and Jamal Crawford are on the tail end of their careers—neither can be utilized as a consistent offensive and defensive threat.

    Nonetheless, the Clippers are an up-and-coming team with a number of young players. They will be a perennial playoff team with Chris Paul and Blake Griffin.

    But how can they overcome loaded contenders like the Lakers and Thunder and become contenders for years to come?

    They will need to acquire a third all-star caliber piece to play alongside Paul and Griffin.