These are the times when Staples Center doesn’t feel quite as hospitable to the Clippers.
Their game against the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday was their second 12:30 p.m. start in as many days, not exactly the way they would have drawn it up. It’s partly the result of NBA scheduling quirks and partly the result of the Clippers having third priority for dates and times in their own home arena, behind the Kings and Lakers.
“It’s not awful,” Clippers Coach Doc Rivers said before his team rebounded from a flat start for a 114-111 victory in overtime, “but you would love to play the evening game [Sunday]. I don’t mind the back to back, but the smart thing would have been 12:30 [followed by] 7:30.”
The Clippers played before the Kings on Saturday and before the Lakers on Sunday.
There was also a game against Milwaukee at Staples Center last month that Rivers tried to move before the schedule became locked in because it was sandwiched between two trips. The NBA could not accommodate the Clippers, Rivers said, because of arena availability.
Having their own building would also allow the Clippers to receive a bigger share of revenue associated with parking and concessions while having more control of signage inside and outside of the facility.
Clippers owner Steve Ballmer acknowledged last summer that the idea of having his own arena was attractive, largely because of concerns over priority.
“We’re third guy in, we have third choice in dates,” Ballmer told The Times’ Bill Plaschke. “If you are a good businessman, you don’t come to the end of your lease and say, ‘I have no options, landlord, please take me to the woodshed and beat me.’ We’ll have options.”
Pelicans guard Tyreke Evans pressures Clippers guard Chris Paul during overtime.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Pelicans forward Ryan Anderson fouls Clippers forward Wesley Johnson late in overtime while battling for rebounding position.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Clippers owner Steve Ballmer cheers from his baseline seat as his club beat the Pelicans, 114-111, in overtime on Sunday at Staples Center.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Clippers guard Jamal Crawford navigates past Pelicans center Alexis Ajinca, left, and guard Jrue Holiday during overtime.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Clippers center DeAndre Jordan misses a dunk as he is fouled by Pelicans forward Dante Cunningham during the second half.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Pelicans guard Norris Cole beats Clippers forward Wesley Johnson to a loose ball during the second half.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Clippers center DeAndre Jordan loses control of the ball as he is fouled by Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday during the first half of a game Sunday afternoon at Staples Center.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Clippers guard Chris Paul steps between Pelicans center Omer Asik, left, and Tyreke Evans to make a steal during the first half Sunday afternoon at Staples Center.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Clippers guard Jamal Crawford struggles to get to the basket against Pelicans defender Jrue Holiday in the first half(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Clippers guard J.J. Redick pulls up for a shot over Pelicans guard Eric Gordon in the first half.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Clippers center DeAndre Jordan blocks the shot of Pelicans guard Eric Gordon during the first half.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Pelicans center Omer Asik is fouled by Clippers guard Chris Paul during the second half.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Clippers guard Chris Paul drives to the basket against Pelicans guard Norris Cole during the first half.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Clippers center Cole Aldrich hits Pelicans center Alexis Ajinca in the face as the two battle for a loose ball in the first half.(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)
Not for a while. The Clippers’ lease with Staples Center runs through the end of the 2023-24 season.
Back and forth
The Development League shuffle continues for C.J. Wilcox.
The second-year shooting guard rejoined the Clippers on Sunday after being recalled from the Canton (Ohio) Charge, where he had served his second D-League stint of the season after having also played for the Bakersfield Jam.
Wilcox has played in eight games with Canton, seven games with Bakersfield and only one with the Clippers, when he logged one second last month against the Indiana Pacers.
“It’s definitely a challenge,” Wilcox said of the arrangement. “It’s good to play. I think that kind of takes away some of the stress that would normally be there, because you’re actually getting to play and run up and down the floor. But it’s definitely tough going back and forth.”
Rivers said he was pleased with the Clippers’ development of Wilcox, a former first-round draft pick, despite his lack of NBA playing time. Asked whether there was a reason the Clippers had recalled Wilcox, Rivers said, “We like him. We like him around.”
Wilcox may be on the move again soon, though. He said the plan was for him to go back to the D-League in the not-too-distant future.