All Action, All Year Long - 2018-19 Schedule Breakdown
By Nick Gallo | Thunder Basketball Writer | email@example.com
First crack at the defending champs falls into the Thunder’s hands. From then on in 2018-19, the Thunder will wind through a fairly balanced home-road schedule that is brimming with high-profile national television matchups in addition to crucial stretches that make good teams great.
The 82 games this year will provide the team an opportunity to learn from last year’s squad, where consistency was an issue but the organization saw how impressively it could perform when playing at its best.
First things first - the NBA has chosen the Thunder to be a part of its opening night festivities on Tuesday, October 16, with a matchup on the road against the defending champion Golden State Warriors on TNT.
After the year’s first road trip continues with a clash against the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday, October 19, the Thunder returns for its home opener on Sunday, October 21 against the Sacramento Kings. That game begins an 11-day, four-game home stand to finish the opening month of the season for the Thunder.
Across October and November, the Thunder will play 12 home games compared to 8 road games, and that opening stretch of the schedule includes home games against the Boston Celtics on Thursday, October 25 and the Houston Rockets on Thursday, November 8.
Around Thanksgiving, the Thunder will play again on the road against the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday, November 21, then the organization’s first-ever home-home back-to-back on Friday, November 23 against the Charlotte Hornets and Saturday, November 24 against the Denver Nuggets. That stretch begins the Thunder’s second longest home stand of the season, four games spanning 10 days, a stint that includes home tilts against the Cleveland Cavaliers (Wednesday, November 28) and Atlanta Hawks (Friday, November 30).
For the ninth consecutive season, the Thunder will be a part of the NBA’s prestigious Christmas Day slate, this year playing on the road in Houston against the Rockets on ABC at 2 p.m. CT. That road battle is one of 10 games away from Chesapeake Energy Arena in the month of December, as the Thunder’s schedule skews road heavy in the dog days of the season. Across December and January, the Thunder will play 17 road games compared to 12 in Oklahoma City. Matchups during that stretch include playoff rematches at home on Monday, December 10 against the Utah Jazz and again on the road on Saturday, December 22, and a home game against the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday, January 17. Oklahoma City will travel to New York for a Martin Luther King Day matchup against the Knicks on Monday, January 21.
All Star Weekend is slated for Charlotte this year, from February 15 through 17, and the Thunder will help send the NBA into the break with a game on TNT against the New Orleans Pelicans on Thursday, February 14. Coming out of the All-Star Break, the Thunder will have one of its 12 back-to-back pairings – another home-home set on Friday, February 22 and against the Utah Jazz and Saturday, February 23 against the Sacramento Kings.
After the All-Star Break, the Thunder will have some home cooking to finish the season. With 14 of the Thunder’s final 25 games at Chesapeake Energy Arena, the team will have a chance to fight for playoff positioning on its own turf. The closing stretch includes the Thunder’s only home clash against the defending champions on Saturday, March 16, and then another battle against the Lakers in Chesapeake Energy Arena on Tuesday, April 2.
The 2018-19 campaign concludes with the Thunder’s final back-to-back set, with a home game on Tuesday, April 9 against the Houston Rockets and season-ending road game in Milwaukee against the Bucks on Wednesday, April 10.
All in all, the NBA’s schedule adjustments over the past two years have aided the league’s ability to get rest and be less strained in its travel. This season, the Thunder has no sections of four games in five nights, and the longest road trip is just three games, on four different occasions.
In total, the Thunder will play exclusively six times apiece on ABC and TNT broadcast. 70 of the Thunder’s regular season games will be available to fans in Oklahoma City and on NBA League Pass via Fox Sports Oklahoma, and all 82 will be broadcast on WWLS the Sports Animal and the Thunder Radio Network.