Clippers 'fortunate' with early schedule

PLAYA VISTA, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Clippers have never been a team known for having tremendous luck, but these are different times for the once-dormant franchise.

The Clippers are tied with three other teams for the fewest games played so far this season (five) and will not play games on back-to-back nights until Jan. 10. In fact, the Clippers only have to leave Los Angeles three times from Dec. 29 to Jan. 31, the fewest travel days of any team to start the season.

"[NBA commissioner] David Stern really looked out for us," Clippers guard Mo Williams said. "Tell David Stern I gave him some love."

The NBA actually released the schedule before the Clippers acquired Chris Paul, Chauncey Billups and Caron Butler in the offseason. If the league office had known the Clippers would have been one of the most talked about teams, they might have been scheduled for nationally televised road games against teams such as the Miami Heat, Chicago Bulls and Boston Celtics. As it is, the Clippers will avoid road games against the top three teams from the Eastern Conference last season.

"We've been fortunate having all these off days but I don't think it has anything to do with Stern," Clippers guard Billups said. "This team was different when they made the schedule. If this team was where it is right now, they would have had us out there showcasing us and playing other teams, but we've been fortunate."

Arash Markazi is a columnist and reporter for ESPNLosAngeles.com.