When OKC is finished playing the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday night inside Chesapeake Energy Arena, the Thunder will become the sixth NBA team to complete the dreaded back-to-back-to-back.
For some, the three-day expedition will be a monumental task. For others, the degree of difficulty could be far less overwhelming.
As is often the case in the NBA, it's all in the timing.
Playing a BTBTB early in the season is a better proposition in terms of energy, but can be frustrating if your team is slow to jell.
Playing a BTBTB late in the season will be a lingering black cloud, but could be beneficial if you're facing teams that have given up hope by the time you meet.
There are other mitigating circumstances, such as injuries, suspensions, inclement weather and DeMarcus Cousins (i.e., potential coaching changes).
All 30 teams will play at least one BTBTB and 12 teams will play two.
A look at some of the more intriguing aspects:
Least demanding BTBTB: Indiana Pacers. The Pacers play three nondescript teams in Washington, Phoenix and Milwaukee from March 22-24, which could indirectly result in a Spring Break feel. Indiana should survive with ease. After all, the NBA believes the Pacers are loaded. Indiana had six players placed on the All-Star ballot last Wednesday and later that same day lost by 35 in Miami with no Dwyane Wade and a hobbled LeBron James.
The Oklahoma City Thunder is the runner-up here. The Thunder plays back-to-back against struggling Houston, followed by a home game against San Antonio with no Manu Ginobili.
Most demanding BTBTB: Denver Nuggets, and it's not even close. The Nuggets could have stayed inside the same building to commence their second three-step of the season. Denver plays the Los Angeles Clippers on Feb. 2 inside Staples Center. Rather than stick around to face the other team down the hall, Denver must fly back home to play the LA Lakers on Feb. 3, then fly to Portland to play the Trail Blazers on Feb. 4. That's three playoff teams in three nights in three cities.
Wait, there's more. All three games are nationally televised. The first two will start at 8:30 p.m. Mountain time and the third at 8. The Nuggets should get back home from LA sometime around 4 a.m. local. After playing in Portland, the Nuggets fly back home to play Houston on Feb. 6.
Wow, who did George Karl make angry? Or is this about the Carmelo Anthony trade last season? Perhaps it's the tattooed Chinese defections and attitudes of Kenyon Martin and J.R. Smith.
Potentially embarrassing BTBTB: Boston Celtics. The aging Celtics don't play their BTBTB until mid-April and will have played 58 games up to that point. Though their opponents are only Toronto, New Jersey and Charlotte, all three games are on the road, and old legs don't travel well.
Three-step double-dip: These teams have two BTBTBs — Atlanta, Denver, Detroit, Indiana, LA Clippers, Minnesota, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Portland, San Antonio and Washington.
Most demanding three-step double-dip: Washington Wizards. The Wizards don't play their first BTBTB until March 24-26. They play their second BTBTB just nine days later from April 4-6.
Plus, they stink.
No worries. The quicker the Wizards play, the quicker they're mathematically eliminated.
Least demanding three-step double-dip: Indiana Pacers. The Pacers open at home against Miami, but their five remaining games are against non-playoff candidates in Cleveland, New Jersey, Washington, Phoenix and Milwaukee.
Road warriors: Minnesota Timberwolves. The Wolves have two BTBTBs and five games are on the road. The lone home game is against Chicago, which had the league's best record last season at 62-20. One of Minnesota's games is on Feb. 29 — Leap Day — which is somewhat akin to playing in the Olympics since you only get to do it once every quadrennial.
Frequent-flier specials: The following teams play an entire BTBTB on the road — Boston, Dallas, Detroit, Golden State, LA Clippers, Miami, Minnesota, New Orleans, San Antonio and Utah.
Rivalry week: New York Knicks. From Feb. 2-4, the Knicks host Chicago, play at Boston, then are back home against New Jersey.
I love LA: Minnesota Timberwolves. The Wolves play at the Clippers and Lakers back-to-back. Same hotel, same arena, presumably the same locker room.
I hate LA: Denver Nuggets. The Nuggets face the Clippers once and the Lakers three times in their two BTBTBs.