Pivotal 10 days for Thunder
Remember that brutal eight-game stretch before Christmas everyone agreed was pivotal for the Thunder? The next nine days are similar.
It would be silly to suggest any six-game stretch in the middle of the season is a make or break portion of the schedule. There are simply too many games left to play. But how the Thunder fares these next nine days will reveal a lot about a young team that’s exceeded expectations.
Six games in nine days is challenging regardless of who you play. But considering five of the six are against Dallas, Miami, Atlanta, Memphis and Cleveland — and five of the six are on the road — the next nine days are similar to that two-week pre-Christmas gauntlet.
If the Thunder finishes 3-3 the next nine days it will be a success. Go 2-4 or worse and they have some catching up to do. Go 4-2 or better and Oklahoma City’s odds of making the playoffs improve significantly.
Why? I will be writing a halfway point of the season analysis next Wednesday. The one thing that stands out is Oklahoma City has a much easier schedule than most Western Conference contenders the second half of the season, especially after this six-game stretch concludes. Several playoff contenders have some challenging stretches coming up in February and March.
The Thunder closed out the brutal pre-Christmas stretch 3-5 by posting a win at Phoenix. Can they pull a similar surprise and go at least 3-3? It’s not a do-or-die stretch by any means. But these next six games will be pivotal as to where the Thunder stands heading into the All-Star break.
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