The OKC Thunder season is right around the corner with training camp set to begin on September 28th around the association. We are inside of a month from preseason basketball, knocking on the door of the regular season, and the anticipation is at an all-time high.
The Oklahoma City Thunder won 12 games away from the friendly confines of the Paycom Center a year ago. They won just 10 games in their home arena during the 2020-21 season. The Thunder hope to build on that road success this season.
Toughest road trip for the OKC Thunder during the 2021-22 NBA season
The league returns to their traditional 82-game format, with 41 home games and 41 road contests for each squad. Even the Toronto Raptors return to their home base north of the border. So what will be the toughest road swing for the boys in blue?
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Two stints immediately leap off the page when you look at the Thunder’s slate. They bookend the season. To start the year, the Thunder will travel to Golden State to take on the Warriors on October 30th, November first they land in La La Land to play the Clippers and stick around for a few days to take on Russell Westbrook and the Lakers.
The Warriors will be without Klay Thompson until Christmas, the Clippers are without Kawhi Leonard for what is expected to be the entire regular season but for sure the early months, and the Lakers might not be hitting their stride this early on.
Those factors lead to the final three games being the toughest road stretch of the year. The Western Conference is poised to be a battle all year long for playoff positioning, with a handful of disappointed teams at the end of the 82-game marathon.
OKC, who might be struggling, limping their way to the end of the season at this point, will have to buckle down to get through their final three contest.
On April 6th, the team travels to Utah to take on contending team in a top tier environment, then once again see themselves taking on the team’s from L.A. in back-to-back games with the Lakers contest on the 8th of April and the Clippers on the 10th in the final clash of the year.
With Kawhi’s injury and a competitive west, the final game of the year will be an important one for the Clippers who owe their unprotected first-round pick to the Thunder in the 2022 draft, each loss boosts that selection a tad.
The Lakers and Jazz might not cruise to a top seed, as many projects a thin margin of error separating teams 1-8 and even just a handful of games being the difference in dropping to the play-in tournament in the wild, wild west.
When the Bricktown Boys travel out west, it is always a tough stretch no matter how good the team is, there are a ton of late nights, coffee consumed, and lack of sleep for those of us back home. Admittedly, preparing for late-night coffee and no sleep while covering the team did factor into this ranking of the toughest road trip.