A league-wide shut down is never something you hope happens, but it might have been a saving grace for the Clippers. They had been enjoying a great regular season and had won 7 of their last 10, but they were starting to run on fumes. While Kawhi and Paul George have enjoyed regular rest, everyone else was gassed, and it showed in their contest against the Lakers. These past three months have allowed players to heal up, regroup, and refocus on the task at hand.
With the league announcing their return in late July, we finally have credible information as far as what to expect. Only a few select teams outside of the current 1-8 seeds have been invited to Orlando, which means the schedules will have to change slightly. Yahoo Sports’ Vincent Goodwill gave an update on how the league plans to work around the gaps in scheduling.
The plan is for teams to continue their schedule as planned, with the next 8 games. If team is scheduled to play Hawks/Bulls/Pistons, it moves onto the next game on schedule, league sources tell Yahoo Sports
— Vincent Goodwill (@VinceGoodwill) June 3, 2020
Now knowing this, we can predict what the new schedule will look like for the Clippers. Let’s take a look at how their road to the playoffs has been adjusted.
Original Final 8 Opponents
vs Oklahoma City
@ LA Lakers
vs Golden State
Proposed Final 8 Opponents
The first thing that stands out is there is no fourth meeting with the Lakers. Love it or hate it, but this means that the Clippers don’t get the opportunity to see how they plan to integrate the freshly acquired Dion Waiters. The proposed 8 games do look softer on paper, but teams like the Pelicans and Suns will be highly motivated to reach a potential play-in game.
The toughest games on the schedule would have to be against the Mavs and Nuggets. Both teams have a playoff spot all but locked up, yet seeding will be an important factor. Denver and LA are separated by just 1.5 games and Dallas will be trying to move up a spot in order to avoid a first-round matchup with the Clippers. Outside of these two teams, there isn’t much to worry about. Avoiding teams like Utah and the hungry Portland Trail Blazers makes a huge difference for a weary Clippers squad.
Predicted record: 6-2
There is still much to play for, but if LA can take care of those two teams, they will have a chance to use the final four games as a tuneup for a playoff run. After all, they won’t be content with just making the playoffs this year. Their acquisitions of George and Leonard came with the expectations of hoisting their first-ever Larry O’Brien, and they expect to do just that. Get ready, Clippers fans. The fun is just beginning.