For the Thunder organization, the players, the coaches and the fans, this August day is always a wonderful morsel, an appetizer about a month before training camp. To much delight, briefly satiating the rabid appetite for basketball in Oklahoma, the 2017-18 NBA schedule has been released.
As noted last week, the Thunder will start its campaign at home on Oct. 19 against the New York Knicks in a TNT-exclusive game at Chesapeake Energy Arena. It’ll be the first time reigning NBA MVP Russell Westbrook steps on the floor for a regular season game alongside fellow All-Star Paul George.
From there, the Thunder will be off and running. Seven of the Thunder’s first 11 games will be on the road, a stretch that includes two games against its new-look Northwest Division rival the Minnesota Timberwolves (Oct. 22 in OKC and Oct. 27 at MIN). That second Minnesota game marks the first of the Thunder’s 14 back-to-back sets this season, although every team in the NBA will be relieved of those brutal four-games-in-five-nights stretches that the league was able to eliminate by beginning the season a week earlier.
The Thunder will again be at home around Thanksgiving, with the first meeting of the season against the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors coming to Chesapeake Energy Arena on Wednesday, Nov. 22. On the other side of the national holiday, the Thunder will host the Detroit Pistons on Friday Nov. 24.
It’s home-heavy for the Thunder in December, including the previously-released home tilt against the Houston Rockets on Christmas Day. Once again, the Thunder will help Oklahomans celebrate the holidays a week later by hosting the Dallas Mavericks on New Year’s Eve to finish out a stretch of seven-out-of-eight games at home.
The four straight home games to end 2017 is tied for the longest stretch at Chesapeake Energy Arena for the Thunder, along with another four-game home stand in early March that is highlighted by March 6 against the Houston Rockets and March 10 against the San Antonio Spurs.
The Thunder has a number of three-game road trips, but none longer than five full days on the road at one juncture. The Thunder will again be playing on Super Bowl Sunday, but it’s one of six games that will start before 6 p.m. CT, as the team hosts the Los Angeles Lakers on Feb. 4 at 1 p.m. CT.
The Thunder closes its 2017-18 season at home against the Memphis Grizzlies on April 11. If the season plays out the way the organization plans and hopes, it’ll then be on to postseason hoops, the most thrilling time of the year in Oklahoma City.
In total, the Thunder will play on national television 36 times, including six exclusive ABC and TNT broadcasts apiece. 70 of the Thunder’s 82 regular season games will be available to fans in Oklahoma City on Fox Sports Oklahoma, and all will be broadcast on WWLS the Sports Animal and the Thunder Radio Network.