The toughest stretch of the OKC Thunder season

OKC Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (2) and Oklahoma City Thunder guard Luguentz Dort (5) Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports
OKC Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (2) and Oklahoma City Thunder guard Luguentz Dort (5) Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports /

The NBA released the 2023-24 schedule on Thursday afternoon, including the slate of games for the OKC Thunder basketball.

Eighty of the OKC Thunder’s 82 regular season matchups are revealed; the other two will come later as part of the In-Season Tournament. Throughout the long season, some stretches are more notable than others.

Some of these stretches are notable for good reasons, and others are not. But one of those not-so-good stretches is worse than any other.

What is the most challenge stretch for the OKC Thunder this season?

There are plenty of challenging games on the OKC Thunder slate, but a six-game span in mid-November may be the most difficult. Some of those games will even have extra juice, which count toward the In-Season Tournament.

The OKC Thunder start the six-game journey with one of the five road games on Nov. 10 in Sacramento. The Kings were the biggest shock in the NBA last season as they got back to the playoffs for the first time in nearly two decades and finished as the third seed in the western conference.

Winning in Sacramento is a challenging task for anyone, but the OKC Thunder have yet to take one at Golden 1 Center since January 2020. That’s five straight losses in the Kings’ building going into this matchup against De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis, one they need to win for In-Season Tournament group play.

The OKC Thunder then get a day of rest before heading to Phoenix to face the Suns on Nov. 12. This will be the first matchup for the OKC Thunder against one of the title favorites and their big three of Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, and Bradley Beal.

Much like Sacramento, Phoenix has also been troubling for the Thunder. They have lost five straight against the Suns on the road dating back to 2021.

After a couple of west coast games, the OKC Thunder head home for another In-Season Tournament game. This time, against Victor Wembanyama and the San Antonio Spurs on TNT on Nov. 14.

The first of four games against the Spurs on the schedule will tip off a rivalry between Chet Holmgren and Wembanyama, the two front-runners for Rookie of the Year. While the Spurs may be the least challenging matchup in this period, the OKC Thunder can’t afford to overlook the “easy” game.

The OKC Thunder then head back to California for a two-game series with the Golden State Warriors. Chase Center is yet another location the Thunder have difficulty winning at. Like Phoenix and Sacramento, the Thunder have lost five straight games there.

These two games on Nov. 16 and 18 should set up a duel between star guards Stephen Curry and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. If the Warriors have a similar season to their sixth-seed finish in 2023, these games could prove massive for playoff positioning.

Finally, the OKC Thunder end the six-game stretch with a trip to Portland on Nov. 19. Although Damian Lillard could be gone by the time this game happens, the Trail Blazers will still have an exciting young team.

As the OKC Thunder know, young teams can spoil a road trip for even the best, established teams in the league. Going into the Moda Center on the second night of a back-to-back could turn a seemingly straightforward game for the OKC Thunder into a trap.

The Thunder’s most difficult stretch:

  • November 10 @ Sacramento Kings
  • November 12 @ Phoenix Suns
  • November 14 vs. San Antonio Spurs
  • November 16 @ Golden State Warriors
  • November 18 @ Golden State Warriors
  • November 19 @ Portland Trail Blazers

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