Top 10 Thunder Games of the 2016-17 Season

The NBA has officially released the full schedule for the Oklahoma City Thunder for the 2016-17 season, and it is packed with some potentially exciting games. The Thunder’s roster will look significantly different at the start of this season compared to last year, which means several former players will be making their return to Oklahoma City for the first time. We have ranked what we consider to be the top 10 games of the season along with some analysis for each game. Let us know in the comments or over on Twitter at @TheThunderGuys if you agree/disagree, along with any games you think we may have left out.Screen Shot 2016-08-11 at 6.30.15 PM

#1: Golden State Warriors @ Oklahoma City Thunder

When: Saturday, February 11, 2017 at 7:30 PM CST
Where: Chesapeake Energy Arena
Breakdown: This game is going to be a battle for the ages. By this point in the season, the Thunder will have already played the Warriors twice at Oracle Arena, but this is more than just a matchup against the defending Western Conference Champions. This is the return of Kevin Durant to Oklahoma City. It’s anyone’s guess as to whether Chesapeake Energy Arena will cheer or boo Durant as he’s introduced in the Warriors’ starting lineup.

#2: Oklahoma City Thunder @ Golden State Warriors

When: Thursday, November 3, 2016 at 9:30 PM CST
Where: Oracle Arena
Breakdown: Thunder fans don’t have to wait very long at all for the very first matchup of the season against the Warriors and their new starting small forward. Just one week into the season, the Thunder will travel to Oakland to face off against Kevin Durant and the defending Western Conference Champs.

#3: Orlando Magic @ Oklahoma City Thunder

When: Sunday, November 13, 2016 at 6 PM CST
Where: Chesapeake Energy Arena
Breakdown: The Orlando Magic has not been a team of much consequence for years now, but this year’s matchup has a new feature: Serge Ibaka on the opposing team. Ibaka being traded to Orlando came as a surprise to some; regardless, it appeared to happen on fairly good terms. Serge remains appreciative to the Thunder, and Oklahoma City will surely welcome him back in a grateful fashion.

#4: Detroit Pistons @ Oklahoma City Thunder

When: Saturday, November 26, 2016 at 7 PM CST
Where: Chesapeake Energy Arena
Breakdown: Few basketball fans aside from the Thunder faithful paid too much attention to Oklahoma City’s late season loss in Detroit on March 29th earlier this year. The Thunder sat several players, including Kevin Durant, and the loss didn’t affect playoff seed status for the Thunder, but it did affect the future of how former Thunder player Reggie Jackson will be handled. Jackson was traded to Detroit early last season, and he left on some pretty poor terms. After the Pistons won that game in Detroit back in March, and Reggie Jackson celebrated like he had never won a game before, he was instantly inserted into many “Top 5 Most Hated Players” lists for OKC fans. Russell Westbrook will undoubtedly be looking to put Reggie Jackson in his place.

#5: Los Angeles Clippers @ Oklahoma City Thunder

When: Saturday, December 31, 2016 at 7 PM CST
Where: Chesapeake Energy Arena
Breakdown: Despite the Los Angeles Clippers’ best efforts to recruit Kevin Durant over the summer, they never really had a chance due largely in part to their aging lineup and decreasing salary cap space. With Kevin Durant gone, however, the growing rivalry between the Thunder and the Clippers still stands. Rumors are swirling about the Thunder’s desire to sign Blake Griffin next summer, so what better way to ring in 2017 than by handing Griffin and the Clippers another loss in Chesapeake Energy Arena?

#6: Minnesota Timberwolves @ Oklahoma City Thunder

When: Sunday, December 25, 2016 at 7 PM CST
Where: Chesapeake Energy Arena
Breakdown: The Minnesota Timberwolves are one of the league’s youngest yet most exciting teams. Many NBA experts think that the Timberwolves will be very good very soon with talent like Ricky Rubio, Andrew Wiggins, Karl Anthony-Towns, and Zach Lavine on the roster. This Christmas Day matchup could be a fun one full of high-flying dunks from both teams.

#7: Golden State Warriors @ Oklahoma City Thunder

When: Monday, March 20, 2017 at 7 PM CST
Where: Chesapeake Energy Arena
Breakdown: Kevin Durant’s second return to Oklahoma City will likely be even less favorable for him than the first one. This late season matchup will be interesting, especially depending upon where both teams sit concerning seeding for the Playoffs.

#8: San Antonio Spurs @ Oklahoma City Thunder

When: Friday, March 31, 2017 at 8:30 PM CST
Where: Chesapeake Energy Arena
Breakdown: No matter how old the San Antonio Spurs get, they always seem to find a way to compete, and this year should be no different. Tim Duncan has retired, but there’s still plenty of fundamental basketball in San Antonio, and this late season matchup featuring another Western Conference heavyweight could give us a peek into the Thunder’s playoff expectations.

#9: Phoenix Suns @ Oklahoma City Thunder

When: Friday, October 28, 2016 at 7 PM CST
Where: Chesapeake Energy Arena
Breakdown: The Phoenix Suns aren’t exactly the best opponent for the Thunder when it comes to drawing interest, but Opening Night at the ‘Peake is always a grandiose event. Thunder fans will get their first in-person look at the brand new Thunder squad with Russell Westbrook as the sole leader.

#10: Cleveland Cavaliers @ Oklahoma City Thunder

When: Thursday, February9, 2017 at 7 PM CST
Where: Chesapeake Energy Arena
Breakdown: Lebron James, Kyrie Irving, and the reigning NBA champs make their lone stop in Oklahoma City, and despite the lack of Kevin Durant to fuel the competition with Lebron James, Russell Westbrook will be looking to prove why he deserves to be in the Most Valuable Player conversation against the reigning Finals MVP.
Article written by Zack Low. Follow @thethunderguys on Twitter.

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