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Breaking down Clippers path to the NBA playoffs

We take a look at the Clippers schedule for the second half and how tough it will be for them to win the Western Conference.

Kawhi Leonard of the LA Clippers dribbles upcourt during the second half of a game against the Washington Wizards at Staples Center on February 23, 2021 in Los Angeles, California.  Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Clippers haven’t really broken much of a sweat in the first half of the season. The team sits in the No. 2 spot in the Western Conference at 22-10, tied with the Lakers in terms of record. The Clips are 3.5 games behind the Utah Jazz for first place as of Wednesday, February 24th. The Clippers haven’t had too much injuries, though Paul George has missed significant time in the first half. If health isn’t an issue, the Clippers have a great shot at being the No. 1 overall seed in the West for the playoffs.

The Clippers close out the first half of the season with two games against the Memphis Grizzlies, the Milwaukee Bucks, the Boston Celtics and the Washington Wizards. All of those games are winnable with the team around 100 percent. So the Clippers could end up closing the gap on the Jazz pretty easily. Let’s take a look at the second half and break down the matchups.

Los Angeles Clippers second half schedule

The Clippers play just 15 games against opponents who will likely make the postseason, so that number isn’t too bad. Early on in the second half, the Clippers don’t really face too many teams around their playoff position in the West. There are two matchups against elite teams out East with the Philadelphia 76ers and Milwaukee Bucks early on.

At the beginning of April, there’s a tough stretch of games against some elite teams in the West. It starts with the Denver Nuggets, who knocked off the Clippers in the playoffs last season. A matchup against the Los Angeles Lakers is next following by the Portland Trail Blazers and Phoenix Suns. Luckily, all of these games are at home.

If we look toward the end of the schedule, the Clippers close out the season in May with a few tough matchups. The thing is the last three games are all pretty much cupcakes: the Charlotte Hornets, Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder. If those are all three must-win games for the Clippers, you’d think they’d be able to get things done.