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Schedule breakdown: Clippers, Sixers face toughest roads over final 6 weeks


Paul George, Kawhi Leonard and the Clippers have the toughest upcoming schedule in the West.

The LA Clippers have not been particularly good against good teams. As we come out of the All-Star break, there are 15 teams with winning records, and the Clippers have the worst record (9-19) in games played between those 15 teams. And that includes a 6-7 mark with both Paul George and Kawhi Leonard in the lineup.

The Clippers did make some additions at the trade deadline, and they’ve been a much better team over the last month, winning 10 of their last 14 games. That stretch includes road wins in Dallas, New York, Brooklyn and Phoenix, as well as a one-point loss in Milwaukee.

But the 33-28 Clips, now in fourth place and within striking distance of the third-place Sacramento Kings (32-25), will continue to be tested after the All-Star break. They have the Western Conference’s toughest remaining schedule in regard to cumulative opponent winning percentage (.523). Only 11 of their 21 remaining games are against the other 14 teams currently over .500, but they also have two games each against the Golden State Warriors (29-29) and the Oklahoma City Thunder (28-29), who are 17-11 (second best in the West) since mid-December. And LA is the only team that doesn’t have any games remaining against the bottom four teams in the league (Charlotte, Detroit, Houston and San Antonio).

They have been improving offensively, but have been more successful on the other end of the floor. Their 10th-ranked defense won’t have many easy nights going forward, with just two games (fewest in the league) remaining against teams (Orlando and Chicago) that currently rank in the bottom 10 offensively. And their post-break schedule begins with games against the top two offenses in the league (those of the Sacramento Kings and Denver Nuggets).

LA does have the Western Conference’s most home-heavy remaining schedule, with 13 of their 21 games at home. The Clippers are the only Western Conference team that doesn’t have any more road games against the East.

Their post-break schedule begins with a big home game against the third-place Kings on Friday. And starting March 5, the Clips will have a stretch where they’re playing nine of 10 at home. Five of their seven remaining games within the top six in the West (including their game in Denver on Sunday) are on the road, but the Clippers are one of two teams – the Knicks are the other – with a better road record (18-15) than home record (15-13), so it’s not clear that location matters.

The Clippers are one of six Western Conference teams that are at least two games over .500. And the fifth- and sixth-place teams – the Phoenix Suns and Dallas Mavericks – are the ones that made major additions at the trade deadline. The Nuggets remain head and shoulders above the rest of the group, but with 19 games still left to play within the top six in the West, things could get interesting over the last seven weeks of the season.

Games played between top six teams in the West

Team GP W L PCT +/- Per game
Denver 12 9 3 .750 +86 +7.2
Dallas 14 8 6 .571 +66 +4.7
Phoenix 14 7 7 .500 -49 -3.5
Sacramento 12 5 7 .417 +12 +1.0
Memphis 10 4 6 .400 -31 -3.1
LA Clippers 12 4 8 .333 -84 -7.0

Here are some notes on the other teams in the West’s top six …

  • The Mavs have the league’s easiest remaining schedule in regard to cumulative opponent winning percentage, with 13 of their 22 games against teams that are currently at or below .500 and five of those – three against San Antonio and two against Charlotte – against the bottom four teams in the league. They have just four games remaining (tied for the fewest in the league) against teams that currently rank in the top 10 offensively, and they begin their post-break schedule with their longest homestand of the season (six games over 13 days).
  • The Nuggets have the best record (9-3) in games played between the top six teams in the West, with six games remaining against the other five. Three of those are in the next eight days, with a tough back-to-back (at Memphis, vs. the Clippers) this weekend. The Nuggets have the league’s biggest home-road differential in regard to point differential per 100 possessions (plus-11.9 vs. minus-3.8) and 13 of their remaining 23 games are on the road.
  • The Grizzlies have four back-to-backs left, but only one rest-disadvantage* game. It is one of their most important games left, the first game of a two-game series against the Clippers (Mar. 29 and 31). The Grizz are done playing the Suns (2-2) and Kings (2-2), but they still have the most games remaining (8) within the top six in the West, including all three of their games against the Clips.
  • The Suns are one of three teams – the Grizzlies and Jazz are the others – with just one remaining rest-disadvantage* game, and that’s a game against the Lakers (in L.A.) in the last week of the season. Four of their six remaining games within the top six in the West (including a rest-advantage game against the Clippers on the last day of the season) are at home.
  • The Kings have a stretch of five games in seven days from March 15-21, a four-game trip (that goes from Washington to Utah) followed by a home game against the Celtics. Five of their six remaining games within the top six in the West (including a rest-disadvantage game against the Clippers on Friday) are on the road.

* Rest advantage = Didn’t play the day before. Opponent is playing the second game of a back-to-back.
Rest disadvantage = Playing the second game of a back-to-back. Opponent didn’t play the day before.
Through the break, teams are 119-90 (.569) in rest-advantage games, 84-45 (.651) at home and 35-45 (.438) on the road.

Here’s a full breakdown of the remaining schedules for all 15 Western Conference teams:

Western Conference breakdown, post-break schedules

Team Games H | R B2B RA | RDA OppPCT .500+ OppO OppD
LA Clippers 21 13 | 8 4 5 | 4 .523 11 6 | 2 7 | 4
Sacramento 25 12 | 13 6 4 | 4 .520 14 10 | 5 9 | 7
Phoenix 22 11 | 11 3 4 | 1 .517 10 7 | 7 5 | 6
Minnesota 21 8 | 13 4 3 | 3 .505 10 8 | 4 6 | 7
San Antonio 23 11 | 12 4 1 | 3 .503 11 10 | 5 5 | 12
Portland 24 11 | 13 4 2 | 4 .503 14 8 | 7 10 | 8
Golden State 24 12 | 12 3 3 | 2 .502 14 6 | 6 9 | 8
Houston 24 13 | 11 4 2 | 2 .502 12 8 | 6 8 | 6
Denver 23 10 | 13 4 2 | 4 .496 13 7 | 7 10 | 6
Utah 22 11 | 11 2 2 | 1 .495 10 8 | 7 5 | 8
Memphis 25 12 | 13 4 1 | 1 .485 12 7 | 11 8 | 9
L.A. Lakers 23 13 | 10 3 5 | 2 .483 11 5 | 6 8 | 6
Oklahoma City 25 12 | 13 6 0 | 5 .482 11 8 | 6 8 | 11
New Orleans 23 11 | 12 3 7 | 2 .473 10 9 | 7 3 | 10
Dallas 22 12 | 10 3 5 | 3 .466 9 4 | 9 9 | 10

H | R = Home and road
B2B = Back-to-backs
RA, RDA = Rest-advantage, Rest-disadvantage games
OppPCT = Cumulative opponent winning percentage
.500+ = Games vs. the 15 teams currently over .500
OppO = Games against teams currently in the top 10 and bottom 10 in offensive efficiency
OppD = Games against teams currently in the top 10 and bottom 10 in defensive efficiency
RED = Toughest; BLUE = Easiest

The New Orleans Pelicans are just a half-game behind the sixth-place Mavs, but are just 7-16 (only the Spurs and Rockets have been worse in the West) since Jan. 1. The Minnesota Timberwolves are also just a half-game behind the Mavs, have been much better (15-9) in 2023, and should be getting Karl-Anthony Towns back soon. So don’t count them out in the race for one of the guaranteed playoff spots in the West. But to simplify things, we’re keeping them in a group of seven teams seemingly fighting for the four Play-In spots.

Games played between teams 7-13 in the West

Team GP W L PCT +/- Per game
Utah 15 9 6 .600 +9 +0.6
Minnesota 16 9 7 .563 +19 +1.2
Golden State 13 7 6 .538 +25 +1.9
New Orleans 14 7 7 .500 +4 +0.3
Portland 16 8 8 .500 +10 +0.6
L.A. Lakers 13 5 8 .385 -27 -2.1
Oklahoma City 13 5 8 .385 -40 -3.1
  • The Warriors have the second biggest home-road differential in regard to winning percentage (22-7 vs. 7-22) of the last 20 seasons, with 12 home games and 12 road games left to play. Their longest remaining homestand (five games over eight days) begins Friday, though it includes their final two rest-disadvantage games, with one of those (vs. New Orleans on March 3) being one of the most important games left on their schedule.
  • The Lakers‘ most important stretch of the season is the next 10 days. They have seven games remaining against the four West teams currently in Play-In position and four of those seven (including two home games against the Warriors) are in their first six games out of the break.
  • The Wolves have the league’s most road-heavy remaining schedule, with 13 of their 21 games on the road. It’s also East-heavy, with 10 of their 21 games (including a stretch of eight straight) against the opposite conference. They’re currently 9-11 against the East.
  • The Pelicans have both the West’s second easiest schedule in regard to cumulative opponent winning percentage, and only four of their next 17 games are against teams that are currently over .500. (They’ll then finish their season with six straight against currently-over-.500 teams.) They also have just three remaining games (two fewer than any other team) against teams that currently rank in the top 10 defensively. Their seven remaining rest-advantage games are also two more than any other team has left, though five of those rest-advantage games (including their game in New York on Saturday) are on the road.
  • The Thunder have the West’s third easiest remaining schedule in regard to cumulative opponent winning percentage, but are one of four teams with 25 remaining games, one of four teams with six remaining back-to-backs, and the only team with two separate stretches of five games in seven days (the first of which is their first five games out of the break). Their five remaining rest-disadvantage games are the most in the league, and they’re one of three teams without any rest-advantage games left on their schedule.
  • The Blazers (because of a rescheduled game) have a stretch of five games in seven days from Feb. 28 to March 6. The last three games of that stretch are the first three games of a six-game road trip, their third of the season. They have seven games remaining against the four teams currently in Play-In position in the West, three of those seven are against the Pelicans, and the road team will have a rest advantage in all three of those meetings (two in Portland, one in New Orleans).
  • The Jazz are one of three teams with only two back-to-backs left to play. Their opponent (the Kings) will also be playing the second game of a back-to-back on the back end of the first of those, and the other one is the last two days of the season. The Jazz’s longest road trip of the season is six games from March 3-13, and it begins with two of their four remaining games against the Thunder. The Jazz are actually playing their first five post-break games against Oklahoma City (x 3) and San Antonio (x 2).


Sixers will be tested

Joel Embiid and the Sixers will face opponents with a cumulative winning percentage of .540 over the final 6 weeks.

The one team with a tougher remaining schedule than the Clippers in regard to cumulative opponent winning percentage is the Philadelphia 76ers. And the Sixers’ post-break schedule is as busy as it is difficult. They’re one of four teams in the league with 25 games left to play over the final 46 days of the season, and they’re one of six teams with at least one stretch of five games in seven days. Theirs is a five-game trip from March 1-7 that begins with games in Miami, Dallas and Milwaukee.

The Sixers have been one of the league’s best road teams (15-11), but their 15 post-break road games are two more than any other team has left to play. Their sixth-ranked offense also has the league’s toughest remaining schedule in regard to opposing defenses, with 12 of their 25 games against teams that currently rank in the top 10 defensively. That includes their first four games out of the All-Star break, when they’ll face the Grizzlies (third defensively), Celtics (fourth) and Heat (fifth), with their second game against the Heat being the start of the aforementioned five-game trip.

The Sixers’ game against Boston on Saturday is the first of five remaining within the top four in the East. Both of their games against the Celtics are at home, but their three against the Bucks (x 2) and Cavs are on the road.

Games played between top four teams in the East

Team GP W L PCT +/- Per game
Cleveland 8 5 3 .625 +22 +2.8
Boston 6 3 3 .500 +21 +3.5
Milwaukee 8 4 4 .500 -11 -1.4
Philadelphia 6 2 4 .333 -32 -5.3

The other teams in the East’s top four have easier schedules than the Sixers, but the Celtics and Bucks have their own challenges ahead …

  • The Celtics have the league’s toughest remaining schedule in regard to opposing offenses, with 12 of their 23 games against teams that currently rank in the top 10 offensively. That includes a stretch of seven straight games that begins with their visit to Philadelphia on Saturday and includes two games each against the Cavs and Knicks.
  • The Bucks are one of four teams with six back-to-backs remaining on their schedule. Two of them are part of a stretch of five games in seven days (March 24-30), a four-game trip followed by their lone remaining game (with which they’ll have rest disadvantage) against the Celtics at Fiserv Forum. Their two remaining games against the Sixers (March 4 and April 2) are also at home, and both teams will be rested for both of those.
  • The Cavs have the East’s third easiest remaining schedule in regard to cumulative opponent winning percentage (.481), in part because they have five games remaining (only the Pacers have more) against the bottom four teams in the league (Charlotte, Detroit, Houston and San Antonio). They’re one of three teams with only two back-to-backs left to play, and they have the league’s most East-heavy schedule, with 19 of their 21 games within the conference. Their two remaining games against the West are Thursday vs. Denver and March 26 vs. Houston.

Here’s a full breakdown of the remaining schedules for all 15 Eastern Conference teams:


Eastern Conference breakdown, post-break schedules

Team Games H | R B2B RA | RDA OppPCT .500+ OppO OppD
Philadelphia 25 10 | 15 5 2 | 4 .540 15 8 | 10 12 | 7
Atlanta 23 14 | 9 5 5 | 3 .523 13 9 | 6 9 | 5
Toronto 23 10 | 13 3 1 | 2 .520 12 6 | 10 10 | 5
Brooklyn 24 12 | 12 4 3 | 3 .512 13 9 | 10 8 | 8
New York 22 10 | 12 3 3 | 3 .512 13 7 | 9 9 | 6
Miami 23 12 | 11 6 1 | 4 .512 12 11 | 7 8 | 7
Boston 23 10 | 13 4 3 | 3 .509 10 12 | 5 5 | 11
Milwaukee 24 12 | 12 6 2 | 3 .508 11 8 | 8 8 | 6
Orlando 23 12 | 11 2 4 | 2 .500 13 7 | 10 10 | 7
Washington 24 15 | 9 5 3 | 3 .497 10 7 | 10 7 | 9
Chicago 23 12 | 11 4 0 | 3 .496 12 7 | 8 7 | 9
Charlotte 22 14 | 8 3 0 | 2 .489 12 9 | 7 8 | 7
Indiana 22 9 | 13 2 2 | 2 .488 11 9 | 10 8 | 9
Cleveland 21 10 | 11 2 3 | 2 .481 9 7 | 10 5 | 8
Detroit 23 12 | 11 3 4 | 2 .472 6 4 | 13 6 | 8

H | R = Home and road
B2B = Back-to-backs
RA, RDA = Rest-advantage, Rest-disadvantage games
OppPCT = Cumulative opponent winning percentage
.500+ = Games vs. the 15 teams currently over .500
OppO = Games against teams currently in the top 10 and bottom 10 in offensive efficiency
OppD = Games against teams currently in the top 10 and bottom 10 in defensive efficiency
RED = Toughest; BLUE = Easiest

At 34-24, the fifth-place Brooklyn Nets are closer (in the loss column) to fourth place than they are to sixth. But their record was mostly built with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving on the roster. And going forward, the Nets appear to be in a fight with the New York Knicks (33-27) and Miami Heat (32-27) for the final two guaranteed playoff spots in the East. Amazingly, all three of those teams have the same strength of remaining schedule in regard to cumulative opponent winning percentage (.512). New York has the toughest when it comes to the percentage of its games (13/22) that are against teams currently over .500, while Miami is the toughest when you take rest into account.

Games played between teams 5-7 in the East

Team GP W L PCT +/- Per game
Brooklyn 5 4 1 .800 +28 +5.6
New York 4 2 2 .500 -14 -3.5
Miami 3 0 3 .000 -14 -4.7
  • The Nets will play nine of their next 11 games on the road. Then they’ll play 10 of their final 13 games at home. Their remaining games against the Knicks (March 1) and Heat (March 25) are both on the road, though they’ve already clinched the season series (with a 2-0 record) against Miami.
  • The Heat are one of four teams with six back-to-backs remaining on their schedule. And one of their four remaining rest-disadvantage games is in New York on March 29. Their other two games against the Knicks, along with their one remaining game against the Nets, are at home. Their longest homestand of the season – six games against the Sixers, Knicks, Hawks (x 2) and Cavs (x 2) – is Mar. 1-10.
  • The Knicks are one of two teams – the Clippers are the other – with a better record on the road (17-12) than they have at home (16-15), and after a three-game homestand that begins Saturday (and includes their lone remaining game against the Nets), they’ll play 11 of their final 18 games on the road. That stretch begins with a big game in Miami next Friday (March 3).

Beyond the top seven, we appear to have six teams with a chance at the final three Play-In spots in the East. The 13th-place Orlando Magic are currently four games in the loss column out of Play-In position, but they’re 19-15 (eighth best in the East and at least two games better than any of these other five teams) since early December.

Games played between teams 8-13 in the East

Team GP W L PCT +/- Per game
Washington 9 6 3 .667 +41 +4.6
Indiana 14 9 5 .643 +45 +3.2
Atlanta 12 7 5 .583 -25 -2.1
Chicago 14 6 8 .429 +30 +2.1
Orlando 16 6 10 .375 -88 -5.5
Toronto 11 4 7 .364 -3 -0.3
  • The Hawks have the East’s second-toughest remaining schedule in regard to cumulative opponent winning percentage (.523). But they’ll have five rest-advantage games (tied for second most) to add to the 10 (third most) that they’ve already played. They’re 7-3 in rest-advantage games thus far.
  • The Bulls have both the East’s worst record (6-13) against the Western Conference and 11 games remaining (two more than any other East team) against the West. Six of those 11 are on the road, with the Bulls just 1-8 in Western Conference arenas thus far. The Bulls are also one of three teams without any rest-advantage games remaining. Their only game against a team playing the second game of a back-to-back (April 5 in Milwaukee) is also the second game of their final back-to-back.
  • The Pacers have six remaining games (most of any team) against the league’s bottom four teams (Charlotte, Detroit, Houston and San Antonio). But they’re one of two teams (the Spurs are the other) that hasn’t won a road game (they’re 0-11) since Christmas, and after they host the Celtics on Thursday, they’ll play 11 of their next 14 games on the road.
  • The Magic are one of three teams with only two back-to-backs left to play, which is a great thing for them because they’ve been the league’s worst team (1-10) in the second games of back-to-backs. One of those two back-to-backs is in the same city (Los Angeles) on March 18 and 19, with the easier opponent (the Lakers) being the second game.
  • The Raptors have the East’s third toughest remaining schedule in regard to cumulative opponent winning percentage (.520), though only 12 of their 23 games are against the 15 teams that currently have winning records. The issue is that eight of those 12 (including their last three games of the season) are against the top five teams in the league: Boston (x 2), Milwaukee (x 2), Denver (x 2), Philadelphia and Cleveland. The Raps are 3-0 against the Cavs (with the final meeting in Cleveland on Sunday), but 1-6 against the Celtics, Bucks and Sixers.
  • Because of a game in Detroit that was postponed from Feb. 1, the Wizards have the league’s only stretch of four games in five nights (March 4-8), where they’ll play a back-to-back (two home games) on Saturday and Sunday, and then another (road-home) on Tuesday and Wednesday. The end of that stretch is the start of a two-game series against the eighth-place Hawks, who the ninth-place Wizards still have to play four times. The Wizards have the league’s second-most home-heavy schedule, with 15 of their 24 remaining games at Capital One Arena and their final seven road games all being single-game trips.

* * *

John Schuhmann is a senior stats analyst for NBA.com. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter.

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