What stretch is a trap for the OKC Thunder in 2023-24?

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander #2 and Jalen Williams #8 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander #2 and Jalen Williams #8 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

With the release of the OKC Thunder 2023-24 schedule, some of the best matchups will immediately catch fans’ eyes.

Along with that, fans will also highlight some of the easier games that could give the OKC Thunder a chance to rack up some wins. But not all those games are as easy as they appear at first glance.

A stretch in the 2023-24 season that could be a trap for the OKC Thunder

The OKC Thunder are a fun, young team, and getting to the playoffs is the next step for this group. Throughout an 82-game season, that means not taking games off or overlooking easy opponents.

However, it is only human nature to do just that. And a four-game stretch in January could spell trouble for the Thunder. All these games are winnable, but string all four together, and the Thunder are bound to come up short.

This stretch begins on Jan. 8 on the latter half of an east coast road trip in Washington, D.C. After the Wizards sent Bradley Beal and Kristaps Porzingis out the door this offseason, they will likely hover around the bottom of the eastern conference standings.

OKC will be coming off two days of rest after a game in Brooklyn, but that could work against it. Two days off in early January, then having to get psyched up for a game against one of the league’s bottom feeders, is not exactly a recipe for success.

The OKC Thunder finish their road trip in Miami on Jan. 10 against last season’s eastern conference champion. Already, this seems like a tough matchup, and it is. However, the Heat have a reputation for taking the regular season less seriously.

So, while it currently looks like a matchup between a Finals team and a team that missed the playoffs, the OKC Thunder could easily walk into Miami holding a better record than the Heat. If the OKC Thunder drop one in Washington, they may have better focus going into this one. But if they take care of business against the Wizards, they could make the mistake of underestimating Jimmy Butler and company.

Next, the OKC Thunder play in front of their home fans in a game against the Portland Trail Blazers. A matchup against a team that won 33 games last season and likely won’t have its star player, Damian Lillard, come January. Should be an easy game, right?

Unfortunately for the OKC Thunder, it comes on Jan. 11, the second night of a back-to-back. Last season, OKC went 5-8 on the second night of a back-to-back, including 2-2 at home.

The OKC Thunder end this four-game stretch with the Orlando Magic on Jan. 13. A matchup set to be on national TV later in the season will be the first between the top two picks in the 2022 draft, Paolo Banchero and Chet Holmgren.

OKC Thunder trap stretch in 2023-24 NBA schedule

  • January 8: @ Washington Wizards
  • January 10: @ Miami Heat
  • January 11: vs. Portland Trail Blazers
  • January 13: vs. Orlando Magic

The OKC Thunder are a slight step ahead of the Magic in the rebuild process, winning six more games than them last season. But after finishing the year strong, the Magic will be a team that commands respect in 2024. If the OKC Thunder fail to give them that, it could be a long night to finish this potential trap.

Next. OKC Thunder full 82 game schedule. dark