The NBA season doesn’t officially begin for another 68 days, but the 2017-18 schedule is beginning to take shape. All 82 games will be revealed next week, but the Thunder has announced its opponents for opening night and Christmas Day.
Opening Night: Knicks @ Thunder
Thursday, October 19 — 7 PM CT on TNT
While the NBA season officially starts on October 17 with Boston/Cleveland and Golden State/Houston, the Thunder makes its first appearance two days later on the 19th. The revamped OKC roster will get an opportunity to sharpen its claws early, as the New York Knicks don’t figure to be the most formidable of opponents. With fresh faces all around for the Thunder, it could certainly be much worse. (I had this recurring nightmare that OKC started on the road in Oakland…yikes.)
Although the Thunder/Knicks showdown lacks the intrigue of several other season openers, it’s a great place to start if you’re Oklahoma City. Paul George will make his Thunder debut at home in the ‘Peake, and will do so against a Knicks team that figures to underwhelm after another offseason of turmoil. Carmelo Anthony remains mired in trade rumors, and Kristaps Porzingis can’t do it by himself.
There’s no telling what this Knicks team looks like by the time the game tips off, but OKC should be the favorite regardless.
Christmas Day: Rockets @ Thunder
Monday, December 25 — 7 PM CT on ABC
In a rematch of last season’s first round playoff series, the Houston Rockets will visit Oklahoma City on Christmas Day. This is the eighth consecutive Christmas game for the Thunder, further cementing the organization’s place on one of the league’s marquee days of television.
While the match-up itself is familiar, things promise to be much different this time around. As both rosters have undergone serious construction — with Houston adding Chris Paul and Oklahoma City nabbing Paul George — you can throw out previous experiences when predicting how it will turn out. Coming two months into the season, both squads should be hitting their stride and firing on all cylinders.
I wouldn’t be shocked if the two teams actually square off prior to Christmas Day, but this one promises to be a doozy. The Thunder is 5-2 on Christmas Day since arriving in Oklahoma City, and will look to keep it rolling against one of the Western Conference’s elite teams.
Full schedule coming soon.