Oklahoma City Thunder: Predicting The Next 5 Games
The Oklahoma City Thunder: Predicting The Next Five Games
Sitting at 7-3, you can say that the Oklahoma City Thunder have survived their first 10 games of the 2013-14 NBA season. While many teams struggle to find their identity and get healthy, this Thunder team has fought and have managed to come out on top. Although the Thunder have struggled against more tough opponents including the Los Angeles Clippers, Minnesota Timberwolves and Golden State Warriors, they have a chance to turn things around when they face off against each of those three teams within the next five games on their schedule.
The Thunder also have a tough matchup against the San Antonio Spurs within those five games. It'll be one of the toughest stretches for this team early on. The good things about all of this is that the Thunder get to play their Western Conference rivals on their home court. Chesapeake Energy Arena, or "Loud City", has always served as a safe haven for this young Thunder team. They'll have a slight advantage over a group of teams who are poised to perform well even in the most hostile of environments.
The Thunder could split those games right down the middle and no one could rightfully jump on their case for it. I'd imagine that there'd be close, hard-fought losses against championship-worthy opponents. In the worst-case scenario, OKC could lose each of these important games coming up and everyone will have the right to doubt this team's chances of making it deep into the playoffs. In the best-case scenario, we'd see the Thunder sweep these tough opponents en route to earning as much respect as they've had since they made it to the NBA Finals against the Miami Heat.
Regardless of the outcomes of their next five games, one can always predict how he thinks things will play out. That's exactly what I'm going to do as I predict the Thunder's next five games.
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Los Angeles Clippers - Nov. 20, 2013
The Thunder lost to the Clippers just last Wednesday on ESPN. This time, they meet on TNT in their prime time rematch. The Clippers were just starting to get hot, while the Thunder were searching for more solid performances from multiple key players. These teams got familiar with each other early on, and I think the advantage goes to the Thunder this time around, especially coming off a loss to this team and they have them on their home court this time.
Final Score: OKC 109 -- LAC 100
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Utah Jazz - Nov. 24, 2013
The Thunder actually opened up their season in Utah with a 101-98 win. They were without Westbrook at the time and still managed to walk away with a victory. I expect OKC to run away with this one.
Final Score: OKC 100 -- UTA 84
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. San Antonio Spurs - Nov. 27, 2013
This may be the Thunder's toughest and most important game of the early season as they're set to face a Spurs team that currently holds the best record in the Western Conference. I doubt we'll see Gregg Popovich sit any of his old veterans in this matchup. Each team will be looking to make a statement in what may be a preview to a playoff series later. I don't know if Oklahoma has come along well enough to take down this savvy Spurs team this early in the year. Expect a close game that could go either way, but the Spurs could find themselves on top when the dust settles.
Final Score: OKC 108 -- Spurs 111
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Golden State Warriors - Nov. 29, 2013
The second you think about this game, you automatically get reminded of the heartache Andre Iguodala caused OKC fans with his game-winner in last Thursday's meeting between these two teams. The Thunder will surely be fired up for this one as they seek redemption for the most painful loss of the young season. Expect another high-scoring outing, but the Thunder will edge the Warriors this time around -- hopefully without any game-winners.
Final Score: OKC 120 -- GS 115
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Minnesota Timberwolves - Dec. 1, 2013
Kevin Martin returns to Oklahoma in a highly-anticipated rematch between the Thunder and Timberwolves. The T'Wolves handed OKC their biggest loss of the season, but that was without Westbrook present. This time, the star point-guard will be in class and ready to school these Timberwolves. Minnesota has been playing at a high level here early on as Kevin Love has made his way atop most MVP rankings out there with some very strong play thus far. Knowing he's going to have to overshadow Love's expected greatness, Kevin Durant will have an extremely huge game as he pulls his team across the finish line.
Final Score: OKC 98 -- MIN 96