Blog: Breaking down the Thunder's 2017-18 schedule
If you're a fan of the Oklahoma City Thunder, but don't live in the Sooner State - have no fear - the Fighting Russell Westbrook's will play 37 nationally televised games this coming season - up from 30 last year.
Those 37 national games are the 4th most of any NBA team - trailing Cleveland (39), Houston (40), and the defending champion Warriors (43).
One thing to note before I break down a few highlighted games: remember last year, when it felt like OKC played the entire month of January on the road? In reality, it was only 12 of 15 games away from Chesapeake Energy Arena, but who's counting? This season, there's much more balance to the entire schedule - in fact, no Thunder road trip last longer than three games.
Now, to those "must-see" games on the schedule:
OCTOBER 22, 2017
-- Minnesota Timberwolves at Oklahoma City Thunder, 6 PM, FSOK --
This is the first of two chances for Thunder fans to see what should be one of the more improved teams in the entire NBA.
NOVEMBER 22, 2017
-- Golden State Warriors at Oklahoma City Thunder, 7 PM, ESPN --
This is the first time Thunder fans will see Kevin Durant since his title winning, Finals MVP performance earlier this summer. What will the reception be for the "Champion Cupcake"? I can't wait to find out.
DECEMBER 13, 2017
--Oklahoma City Thunder at Indiana Pacers, 6 PM, ESPN --
This marks the first return to Pacers country for new Thunder star Paul George, who was traded to OKC the day before Free Agency began.
DECEMBER 25, 2017
-- Houston Rockets at Oklahoma City Thunder, 7 PM, ABC --
Merry Christmas, Thunder fans! For the eighth-straight year, OKC will play on Christmas Day. This year they host James Harden and the Houston Rockets at the 'Peake. This is the first of six OKC appearances on Tulsa's Channel 8 for the season.
MARCH 10, 2018
-- San Antonio Spurs at Oklahoma City Thunder, 7:30 PM, ABC --
This is the final of two trips to OKC for the Spurs. At this point in the season, hopefully, these two teams are battling it out for a top three seed in the NBA's Western Conference.
APRIL 11, 2018
-- Memphis Grizzlies at Oklahoma City Thunder, 7 PM, FSOK --
The regular season finale comes against a familiar foe - it seems like OKC and Memphis meet in the postseason almost every year.
Other tidbits from the schedule that caught my attention:
* OKC will play 14 back-to-backs this season (compared to 15 last season). Those back-to-backs are listed below:
October 21 - at Utah, October 22 - vs. Minnesota
October 27 - at Minnesota, October 28 - at Chicago
November 9 - at Denver, November 10 - vs. LA Clippers
November 24 - vs. Detroit, November 25 - at Dallas
December 15 - at Philadelphia, December 16 - at New York
December 22 - vs. Atlanta, December 23 - at Utah
January 3 - at LA Lakers, January 4 - at LA Clippers
January 9 - vs. Portland, January 10 - at Minnesota
January 27 - at Detroit, January 28 - vs. Philadelphia
February 1 - at Denver, February 2 - vs. New Orleans
February 13 - vs. Cleveland, February 14 - at Memphis (perhaps the toughest back-to-back of the season)
March 2 - at Phoenix, March 3 - at Portland
March 12 - vs. Sacramento, March 13 - at Atlanta
March 29 - at San Antonio, March 30 - vs. Denver
You can see the entire schedule by clicking the link in the Thunder's Tweet, which is found below: