2013 Clippers schedule: Doc Rivers injects more storylines in Los Angeles

USA TODAY Sports

Doc Rivers will bring his history with other teams and players to the Los Angeles Clippers, but his style could also make them a tougher test.

The Los Angeles Clippers are set to play 21 of their 82 games on national television, a sign that storylines are already built-in before the season begins. Between the addition of head coach Doc Rivers and the team's recent history itself, the Clippers have a lot of interesting matchups to look forward to in 2013-14.

Can they challenge the top of the Western Conference, which right now is owned by the San Antonio Spurs, Memphis Grizzlies, and Oklahoma City Thunder? Can the Clips even win the Pacific Division with Golden State on the rise? And how will Rivers respond to playing against his former team, the Boston Celtics?

Five games to watch

Nov. 7 at Miami -- The early-season matchup against the champs will be a good first test for the Clippers in their first year under Rivers. With the Celtics, the head coach fought Miami with a physical brand of basketball that he'd like to replicate in Los Angeles, and Nov. 7 will be an opportunity to see if that identity is sticking.

Nov. 18 vs. Grizzlies -- After taking a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference semifinals against Memphis last postseason, the Clippers dropped the next four games to head to the offseason with lingering questions. Lob City is out, and Memphis represents a less-watchable but more practical squad that the Clippers would like another crack at. And now they are likely to go about doing so with a more Memphis-like approach, with a bigger emphasis on defense.

Dec. 11 at Boston -- Rivers will return to Boston in what should be an interesting game. Will the Celtics faithful welcome him with memories of a title or with a fresh reminder of how their former coach left in the middle of his contract?

Dec. 25 at Golden State -- The Spurs, Grizzlies and Thunder go into the 2013-14 season looking like three of the top teams in the Western Conference. But who's up there with them? Likely, it'll come down to Golden State and Los Angeles, both of whom made offseason improvements. The Christmas Day game features a fight for the top of the Pacific Division.

April 6 vs. Lakers -- Early in April, the Clippers will probably be playing for playoff seeding. Meanwhile, the Lakers will likely be fighting for a playoff spot in the bottom of the West, if that. At very worst, Kobe Bryant will be playing angry and for respect if the season has already gone sour. Whatever the case may be, there's a good bet the Staples Center will be hosting an entertaining game.

Tough tests

The Clippers have two seven-game road stretches. In December, they hit the road to consecutively play Atlanta, Memphis, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Boston, Brooklyn and then Washington. A month later, they play a much more difficult road swing against the Knicks, Pacers, Pistons, Bobcats, Bulls, Raptors and Bucks.

Easiest stretches

March looks a lot like the easiest stretch of games for Los Angeles if they are to put together a strong run. The toughest games are against Houston, Denver and Golden State, but after that, none of the 15 teams they play are sure-fire playoff squads. There are talented teams like the Lakers, Pelicans and Mavericks in there are well, but those are teams that haven't had established success in the last couple of years. The Clippers could take advantage.

Important schedule facts

Back-to-backs: 17

Season opener: Oct. 29 at Los Angeles Lakers

Home opener: Oct. 31 vs. Golden State Warriors

Longest road trip: Seven games (Dec. 4-14, Jan. 17-27)

Longest homestand: Five games (Feb. 5-18, April 3-15)

2013-14 schedule

OCTOBER
@ Los Angeles Lakers Tuesday, October 29 2013 10:30 PM EDT coverage
Golden State Thursday, October 31 2013 10:30 PM EDT coverage
NOVEMBER
@ Sacramento Friday, November 01 2013 10:00 PM EDT coverage
Houston Monday, November 04 2013 10:30 PM EST coverage
@ Orlando Wednesday, November 06 2013 7:00 PM EST coverage
@ Miami Thursday, November 07 2013 7:00 PM EST coverage
@ Houston Saturday, November 09 2013 8:00 PM EST coverage
Minnesota Monday, November 11 2013 10:30 PM EST coverage
Oklahoma City Wednesday, November 13 2013 10:30 PM EST coverage
Brooklyn Saturday, November 16 2013 10:30 PM EST coverage
Memphis Monday, November 18 2013 10:30 PM EST coverage
@ Minnesota Wednesday, November 20 2013 8:00 PM EST coverage
@ Oklahoma City Thursday, November 21 2013 8:00 PM EST coverage
Sacramento Saturday, November 23 2013 3:30 PM EST coverage
Chicago Sunday, November 24 2013 3:30 PM EST coverage
New York Wednesday, November 27 2013 10:30 PM EST coverage
@ Sacramento Friday, November 29 2013 10:00 PM EST coverage
DECEMBER
Indiana Sunday, December 01 2013 3:30 PM EST coverage
@ Atlanta Wednesday, December 04 2013 7:30 PM EST coverage
@ Memphis Thursday, December 05 2013 8:00 PM EST coverage
@ Cleveland Saturday, December 07 2013 7:30 PM EST coverage
@ Philadelphia Monday, December 09 2013 7:00 PM EST coverage
@ Boston Wednesday, December 11 2013 7:30 PM EST coverage
@ Brooklyn Thursday, December 12 2013 8:00 PM EST coverage
@ Washington Saturday, December 14 2013 7:00 PM EST coverage
San Antonio Monday, December 16 2013 10:30 PM EST coverage
New Orleans Wednesday, December 18 2013 10:30 PM EST coverage
Denver Saturday, December 21 2013 10:30 PM EST coverage
Minnesota Sunday, December 22 2013 9:30 PM EST coverage
@ Golden State Wednesday, December 25 2013 10:30 PM EST coverage
@ Portland Thursday, December 26 2013 10:30 PM EST coverage
Utah Saturday, December 28 2013 10:30 PM EST coverage
Phoenix Monday, December 30 2013 10:30 PM EST coverage
JANUARY
Charlotte Wednesday, January 01 2014 9:30 PM EST coverage
@ Dallas Friday, January 03 2014 8:30 PM EST coverage
@ San Antonio Saturday, January 04 2014 8:30 PM EST coverage
Orlando Monday, January 06 2014 10:30 PM EST coverage
Boston Wednesday, January 08 2014 10:30 PM EST coverage
Los Angeles Lakers Friday, January 10 2014 10:30 PM EST coverage
Dallas Wednesday, January 15 2014 10:30 PM EST coverage
@ New York Friday, January 17 2014 7:00 PM EST coverage
@ Indiana Saturday, January 18 2014 7:00 PM EST coverage
@ Detroit Monday, January 20 2014 1:00 PM EST coverage
@ Charlotte Wednesday, January 22 2014 7:00 PM EST coverage
@ Chicago Friday, January 24 2014 8:00 PM EST coverage
@ Toronto Saturday, January 25 2014 7:00 PM EST coverage
@ Milwaukee Monday, January 27 2014 8:00 PM EST coverage
Washington Wednesday, January 29 2014 10:30 PM EST coverage
@ Golden State Thursday, January 30 2014 10:30 PM EST coverage
FEBRUARY
Utah Saturday, February 01 2014 10:30 PM EST coverage
@ Denver Monday, February 03 2014 9:00 PM EST coverage
Miami Wednesday, February 05 2014 10:30 PM EST coverage
Toronto Friday, February 07 2014 10:30 PM EST coverage
Philadelphia Sunday, February 09 2014 9:30 PM EST coverage
Portland Wednesday, February 12 2014 10:30 PM EST coverage
San Antonio Tuesday, February 18 2014 10:30 PM EST coverage
@ Memphis Friday, February 21 2014 8:00 PM EST coverage
@ Oklahoma City Sunday, February 23 2014 1:00 PM EST coverage
@ New Orleans Monday, February 24 2014 8:00 PM EST coverage
Houston Wednesday, February 26 2014 10:30 PM EST coverage
MARCH
New Orleans Saturday, March 01 2014 10:30 PM EST coverage
@ Phoenix Tuesday, March 04 2014 9:00 PM EST coverage
@ Los Angeles Lakers Thursday, March 06 2014 10:30 PM EST coverage
Atlanta Saturday, March 08 2014 10:30 PM EST coverage
Phoenix Monday, March 10 2014 10:30 PM EDT coverage
Golden State Wednesday, March 12 2014 10:30 PM EDT coverage
@ Utah Friday, March 14 2014 9:00 PM EDT coverage
Cleveland Sunday, March 16 2014 9:30 PM EDT coverage
@ Denver Monday, March 17 2014 10:30 PM EDT coverage
Detroit Saturday, March 22 2014 10:30 PM EDT coverage
Milwaukee Monday, March 24 2014 10:30 PM EDT coverage
@ New Orleans Wednesday, March 26 2014 8:00 PM EDT coverage
@ Dallas Thursday, March 27 2014 8:30 PM EDT coverage
@ Houston Saturday, March 29 2014 8:00 PM EDT coverage
@ Minnesota Monday, March 31 2014 8:00 PM EDT coverage
APRIL
@ Phoenix Wednesday, April 02 2014 10:00 PM EDT coverage
Dallas Thursday, April 03 2014 10:30 PM EDT coverage
Los Angeles Lakers Sunday, April 06 2014 3:30 PM EDT coverage
Oklahoma City Wednesday, April 09 2014 10:30 PM EDT coverage
Sacramento Saturday, April 12 2014 3:30 PM EDT coverage
Denver Tuesday, April 15 2014 10:30 PM EDT coverage
@ Portland Wednesday, April 16 2014 10:30 PM EDT coverage
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