The Oklahoma City Thunder will play this NBA season is a newly remodeled Chesapeake Energy Arena. Legends aren’t made in the cozy confines of home though in the NBA. Wins in The ‘Peake may make Loud City even louder, but on the road is where the Thunder will stake its claim for greatness. They earn their reputation when they walk on someone else’s floor and come away with wins, consistently.
Here’s a look at the top ten Thunder road games in chronological order:
1) December 28 @ Memphis: It took the Thunder seven games to eliminate the Grizzlies last year in the playoffs. This season the two rising young teams should be battling again in the playoffs. Memphis gets O.J. Mayo back and has a OKC-level home court advantage. This might be a bigger challenge than the Magic at home on Christmas night.
2) January 2 @ Dallas: The NBA seems anxious to get this OKC-Dallas rivalry fired up for the new season. With two preseason games and one game at OKC in December and opening the new year with this early road trip, we should know just how the two Western Conference favorites shape up.
3) January 16 @ Boston: Only Kendrick Perkins remains from the trade between these two teams last year with Jeff Green sidelined with the heart condition. Perkins against his old team, KG talking junk, Rondo vs. Russ…it all makes for an interesting game for a TNT national audience.
4) January 30 @ Los Angeles Clippers: The Clippers are the buzz of LA as much as they will be the buzz when they show up in OKC. The Thunder need to prove they can beat teams on the road. Winning against the Clippers and Grizzlies will also be good statements for keeping the best young team in the NBA label.
5) February 10 @ Utah: The Jazz may or may not be contenders in the West this season. What makes this game one to watch is it finishes off a stretch of five road games in seven days. A brutal trip from San Antonio, across the West coast, then to the Jazz. The Thunder’s young legs will be tested there for all to see on a Friday night national ESPN telecast.
6) March 1 @ Orlando: By this time Dwight Howard might be a New Jersey Net for all we know, but if he’s in Orlando this is a big game for the Thunder to prepare for the playoffs. No one has a big guy like Howard. If they can handle him on the road, the interior defense is ready for the playoffs.
7) March 29 @ Los Angeles Lakers: Two road trips to the Lakers in basically the last month of the season. The NBA either helped the Lakers out by giving them a better chance to finish strong, or hurt the old folks with the Thunder running them ragged. Winning in LA is a statement the Thunder need to make.
8 ) April 4 @ Miami: The capstone of one of the toughest stretches on the Thunder schedule is the only trip to Miami for the Heat. It’s fine to beat contenders at home, but you make your name winning on the road. This late in the season a win here could possible make the Thunder the favorites for the title going into the playoffs.
9) April 29 @ Los Angeles Clippers: Maybe it’s overkill putting two Clippers games on the road list also, but with the talent the Clippers have put together they should be a solid playoff contender. Every NBA fan in Oklahoma will be watching this one with Blake and CP3 playing the hometown favorites.
10) April 22 @ Los Angeles Lakers: A Sunday afternoon ABC game against the Lakers. It doesn’t get any better than that outside of the playoffs. This is the Thunder’s last road game and a huge opportunity to capture the nation’s attention. Look forward to a Kobe smirk on national TV while the Thunder wrap up the top seed in the Western Conference for the playoffs.
Topics: Around The NBA, Cole Aldrich, Daequan Cook, Eric Maynor, James Harden, Kendrick Perkins, Kevin Durant, Lazar Hayward, Loud City, Nazr Mohammed, Nick Collison, OKC, OKC Thunder Blog, Oklahoma City Thunder, Reggie Jackson, Royal Ivey, Russell Westbrook, Ryan Reid, Serge Ibaka, Thabo Sefolosha, The 'Peake, The 'Peake Show, Thunderup