Oklahoma City Thunder at Los Angeles Clippers
Gametime: Wednesday, November 2, 2016, 9:30PM CST
This will be the first real test for our beloved Thunder this season in a battle of the last unbeaten teams in the Western Conference. The Clippers have started the season 3-0 with a solid win over the Portland Trailblazers. The Clips also handily defeated the Phoenix Suns, who took the Thunder to overtime at home.
The Thunder will have to show they can hit jumpers and the 3-ball in this matchup. The Clippers have two exceptional interior players in Blake Griffin and Deandre Jordan - both of whom are averaging double-doubles early in the season.
Oklahoma City Thunder at Golden State Warriors
Gametime: Thursday, November 3, 2016, 9:30PM CST
All the eyes in the NBA will be on this game. It is the first matchup between the Thunder and the traitorous Kevin Durant. The combination of having to watch Kevin Durant wear another team’s uniform, plus the very ugly way in which this game could finish will make it tough for the Thunder faithful to watch. However, Russell Westbrook will be well worth the two and a half hours of watching the game. He will most likely be attempting to make the universe implode (hopefully by dunking on Durant). Durant and Draymond Green are both averaging double-doubles early in the season.
Please don’t abuse your TVs during this game. It’s a long season and we will still have 77 games after this one to watch.
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Minnesota Timberwovles
Gametime: Saturday, November 5, 2016 6:00PM CST
Minnesota will be our first home game after our first west coast road trip of the season. The Timberwolves are an exciting up-and-coming team who will likely challenge for a playoff spot this season. They have gotten off to a slower start than expected, losing 2 games by a combined 7 points. The Wolves have 3 rookie contract players averaging double digit scoring plus Gorgui Dieng who just signed a rookie extension a few days ago. They also have a new head coach in Tom Thibodeau formerly of the Chicago Bulls. This will not be the cupcake game that the Thunder would be hoping for following back to back games against the LA CLippers and Golden State Warriors.
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Miami Heat
Gametime: Monday, November 7, 2016 8:00PM CST
Dion Waiters is making his return to Oklahoma City for the first time. In his short stint with the Thunder he quickly became a fan favorite. Miami is another young team that has suffered two close defeats (Charlotte, San Antonio). Hassan Whiteside is averaging a double-double early in the season. The team is coached by Erik Spoelstra, who Thunder fans may remember from the 2012 NBA Finals when the Heat defeated the Thunder.
The Thunder traded F Ersan Ilyasova and a protected first round draft pick to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for SF Jerami Grant on November 1st. It will be interesting to to see how the rotations change. Ilyasova was one of the first players off the bench for Coach Billy Donovan this season.
Jerami Grant is an athletic and long small forward in his third year out of Syracuse. He is averaging 8.0 points per game, 3.5 rebounds, and 2 blocks this season.
The NBA currently seems to be in a cycle of wanting to open up the court and play from behind the 3-point arc. The Thunder seem to be going in reverse of the rest of the NBA. Jerami Grant, Victor Oladipo, Russell Westrbook, and Andre Roberson are all athletic guards/forwards who excel on the defensive end, but do not shoot the 3 all that well. They are more than capable of disrupting the passing lanes and jump shots that most teams around the league are relying on now. It will be interesting to see if this is the course the Thunder are taking.
Many people seem to think that this trade was part of a larger move that will be coming down the road before the trade deadline hits in February. Keep an eye out for other moves from the Thunder.
Forever and always, Thunder up!