The Los Angeles Clippers enter the 2022-23 NBA season with sky-high hopes. And with the NBA releasing its full schedule this month, we figured it’d be a good time to list the 10 biggest must-watch games for the Clippers this season.
But first, let’s chat.
Los Angeles’ legacy — and we use the term legacy lightly — has been peppered with perennial mediocrity and colossal disappointments.
Save for the early-2000 Elton Brand years, it wasn’t until Chris Paul landed in 2011 that bettors could bank on being profitable by taking the Clippers to win straight up (SU). After the Point God took his talents to the Clippers, their SU records in those first three years were 40-26, 56-26, and 57-25.
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But if you bet on Clippers championship futures during that span, or really any span in the organization’s history, you’ve invested in a losing proposition. And that’s despite the fact that LAC squads over the past 12 years have had some of the league’s top-tier talent. Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, and more recently, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.
Currently at FanDuel, LA’s NBA title futures are tied for third-best with the Brooklyn Nets and Golden State Warriors at +700. They sit behind the Boston Celtics (+500) and the Milwaukee Bucks (+650).
Could this be the season that the Clippers defy history’s odds and live up to the ones set by bookmakers?
While we can’t predict the Clippers’ postseason fate just yet, we can look ahead to some must-watch games on LA’s schedule. Let’s dive into some matchups on the Clippers’ calendar that you absolutely cannot miss.
Clippers at Lakers — Oct. 10
Two teams, one city, and one arena.
The Battle for LA is usually a competitive contest. Last season, the first game between these teams came down to the wire, and the Clippers won 119-115. LAC won the first matchup during the 2020 season, 116-109. The year before that, the Clips won the first meeting of the season, 112-102. And for all the trash talk about the Clippers being the Lakers’ little brothers, LAC boasts a 32-7 record over LAL since 2012.
It’s also important to remember that Oct. 20 should mark the return of Kawhi Leonard to the Clippers’ lineup after missing all of last season with an ACL injury. So fans will have a chance to enjoy his comeback performance after his untimely sabbatical. The Clippers also signed John Wall during the offseason, a solid addition who should be a reliable scoring option.
Since the basketball gods have yet to bless fans with a Clippers-Lakers postseason matchup, watching these frenemy franchises duke it out in the regular season will have to do for now.
MORE ON THE LAKERS: The 10 Best Lakers Games on the 2022-23 NBA Schedule
Clippers vs. Nets — Nov. 12
What will the Brooklyn Nets squad look like by the time November rolls around?
Will Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant both be on the roster? Or will some twist of fate take Brooklyn from having two superstars and short title odds to just another team in the East? If it’s the former, put two circles around this date because Kyrie, KD, Kawhi, and Paul George all holding court while healthy is essentially a hoop head’s fantasy.
Clippers at Warriors — Nov. 23
Shooting 37.3% from the 3-point line, the Clippers were the best NBA team in that category in 2021. Splash Brothers Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, and newest little bro Jordan Poole, helped lead the charge that placed the Warriors as the fourth-best 3-point shooting team last season at 36.6%.
As most hoops fans know, the 3-pointer can make or break a team’s momentum. So when these squads meet for their Thanksgiving Eve showdown, should bettors budget some bucks for some 3-pointer player props? Or will these Western Conference foes be as cold from the perimeter as leftover turkey between sliced bread?
MORE ON THE WARRIORS: The 10 Best Warriors Games on the 2022-23 NBA Schedule
Clippers vs. Suns — Dec. 15
While the Clippers play the Phoenix Suns for the first time on Oct. 23, it’s this second matchup that we think fans and bettors should be eyeing.
It’s fair to speculate that it will take Kawhi a few games to resemble the Leonard of yesteryear. So, yes, watching Chris Paul in Year 18 put in work against his old team in October will be entertaining. But have you ever seen Kawhi, Paul George, and John Wall playing inspired ball on the same team two months into the season after they’ve had time to gel? Yeah, neither have we.
By this date, however, we could be watching a Clippers team clicking on all cylinders, playing Western Conference foes with the energy of a team that has something to prove.
Clippers at 76ers — Dec. 23
Both the Clippers and the 76ers were below average against the spread (ATS) last season with LA posting a 48.2% cover rate and Philly achieving 47.3% in that category. So bettors following these teams’ trends ATS in 2021 might not be interested in betting the spread when they face off in 2022.
However, what bettors and fans can both look forward to is an intense matchup between Clippers coach Ty Lue and his old boss and former Clippers coach, Doc Rivers. Will the student defeat the master in this end-of-year battle or will Joel Embiid, and newly-svelte James Harden, help secure a W for Philly at home?
Clippers at Pacers — Dec. 31
No, the Pacers might not be very good this year. (But Tyrese Haliburton, Buddy Hield, and Myles Turner could be a fun little Eastern Conference trio.)
This game is one to watch because it’s the fifth-consecutive road game for the Clippers over an eight-day span. The trip begins with a game against Philadelphia, includes stops in Detroit and Toronto, and has a matchup against the reigning Eastern Conference champion Celtics. This December stretch of road games will test the Clippers’ health and stamina, and if they end 2022 on a high note, that could be a huge morale booster going into 2023.
Clippers vs. Mavs — Feb. 8
Luka Doncic’s 28.4 points per game ranked third in the league last year, and every NBA fan knows that when the Mavericks face the Clippers, Luka and Dallas turn it up a few notches.
As a matter of fact, when Doncic has played LA over his career, he averages 31.4 points per game. While it might be a stretch to call Clippers vs. Mavericks a rivalry, these squads’ postseason meetings have been intense and competitive. With a win over Coach Kidd and Co. in February, the Clippers can signal to Dallas that they’re ready to own the Mavs again should they meet in the playoffs.
Luka Dončić is already 10th All-Time in triple doubles in NBA History.
— he’s played 4 seasons. pic.twitter.com/SMMFfJM57M
— MavsMuse (@MavsMuse) August 31, 2022
Clippers vs. Timberwolves — Feb. 28
The Clippers owe the Timberwolves for beating them 109-104 in the first play-in game of the 2021 “in-between” season. Anthony Edwards averages 20 points and and 3.9 rebounds in his career when facing the Clippers, and Karl Anthony-Towns averages 21.6 points and 10.8 boards when the Clips are on the calendar.
But as noted, LA should be seeking revenge against the dynamic duo and the T-Wovles. What better way to send Minnesota packing than by beating them decisively in the third and final matchup of the season series? New Minnesota addition Rudy Gobert will be tough to score against in the paint.
Clippers vs. Pelicans — March 25
And speaking of avenging losses, the Clippers also owe New Orleans. The Pelicans sealed the Clippers’ playoff fate last season when they defeated LA 105-101 in the team’s second and final play-in game.
Marcus Morris Sr.’s 27 points and Reggie Jackson’s eight rebounds were still not enough to overcome the scrappy Pelicans squad. If the Clippers are in danger of falling into play-in seeding again, when these two teams meet in March, expect 110% effort from the Clippers.
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Clippers at Grizzlies — March 31
Ja Morant and the Grizzlies have established that they are poised to be a force in the stacked West. As a matter of fact, at FanDuel, Morant’s MVP odds are sixth-best at +1100 and the Grizzlies have the ninth-best title odds, at +2100.
Depending on how their seasons unfold, this game could have seeding implications, which means the Clippers could be in a wire-to-wire battle with a young Memphis team in this late-March matchup.