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Clippers ready, but not happy about back-to-back afternoon games

Clippers ready, but not happy about back-to-back afternoon games
Clippers center DeAndre Jordan (6) appears confused while talking to the referee during a game against the Dallas Mavericks on Nov. 1. (Ringo H.W. Chiu / Associated Press)

No matter how much the Clippers and the NBA try to avoid scheduling issues given their slot as the third team in the Staples Center pecking order, some problems still arise.

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Such is life for the Clippers, who get last dibs on playing dates in the same arena used by the Lakers and Kings.

This weekend, the Clippers will play back-to-back games, both starting at 12:30 in the afternoon. Saturday’s opponent will be the Memphis Grizzlies and Sunday’s the Miami Heat.

“I had one request after the season: No back-to-back afternoon games. And they said, ‘OK.’ And they still gave it to us,” a smiling Clippers coach Doc Rivers said late Wednesday night. “[My] pull is not what it used to be. I think part of it is us being the third tenant.”

It will be the end of a five-game home set that hasn’t gone particularly well for the Clippers.

They lost the first two games to the Detroit Pistons and Golden State Warriors, respectively. The Clippers did bounce back by defeating the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday night.

They leave after Sunday’s game for a trip that takes them to San Antonio, Oklahoma City and a back-to-back game at New Orleans.

“Well, they’re big games for us,” Rivers said about the games against the Grizzlies and Heat. “We wished they weren’t both at 12:30, I can tell you that. Those are tricky games, as you know. But we have to be ready for them. We talked about it in the locker room already [after the Dallas game]. They are tough. They sneak upon you so quick, especially when they are back-to-backs.

“But it would be nice to take care of business at home. That’s all we need to focus on right now. We can’t think about the road right now. We have to think about taking care of our own. If we can do that, going out on the road will make us feel a lot better.”

Playing back-to-back 12:30 games is not something new for the Clippers, who will play Saturday before the Kings face Nashville and Sunday before the Lakers take on Memphis.

“Most of us have experienced the back-to-backs,” Blake Griffin said after the Dallas game. “The great thing about noon games is that it’s a noon game for both teams.

“Like, we have to come for practice Friday and take advantage of these two days in between games and come in Saturday and execute our offensive and defensive game plan.”

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