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OKC Thunder: Quick start for the Thunder will be key

The Thunder's first 24 opponents had a combined record of 70 games below .500 last season at 757-827.
BY JOHN ROHDE Published: October 26, 2012

The Thunder somewhat underachieved at Chesapeake Energy Arena last season despite tying for the second-best home record in the Western Conference at 26-7. OKC lost home games to Portland, Cleveland and Houston in addition to less egregious setbacks against San Antonio, Memphis, the Los Angeles Clippers and Denver.

OKC had the league's sixth-best home record the previous three seasons at 83-32 (.722), trailing San Antonio (93-22), the Lakers (90-25), Denver (87-28), Chicago (86-29) and Orlando (84-31), but edging Miami (82-33).

The Thunder and Miami tied for the NBA's best road record the past three seasons at 69-46 (.600), one victory ahead of San Antonio and Dallas and two ahead of Chicago.

Based on OKC's winning percentages at home and on the road the past three seasons, an average start for the Thunder this upcoming season would be 16-8.

However, that doesn't take into account even greater expectations this season for the defending Western Conference champions, nor the fact that these first 24 opponents had a combined record of 70 games below .500 last season at 757-827 (see chart).

Brooks admits to being both nearsighted and farsighted when he studies the yearly schedule.

“I have to look at it both ways, no question,” Brooks said, “but if you start looking ahead and start focusing on the big picture too much, you lose that the most important thing is that day.

“We're not looking at our schedule. We're not looking that we have to have this record at this time.”

Not buying 20-4? How about 19-5?

“Expectations, huh?” Brooks said, shaking his head.


FROM THE OPENING TIP

The Thunder plays 16 of its first 24 games this season at Chesapeake Energy Arena, which makes getting off to a quick start vital for the defending Western Conference champions.

This takes on even greater urgency because these first 24 opponents lost 70 more games than they won last season.

Nov. 1 — at San Antonio (50-16)

Nov. 2 — Portland (28-38)

Nov. 4 — Atlanta (40-26)

Nov. 6 — Toronto (23-43)

Nov. 8 — at Chicago (50-16)

Nov. 9 — Detroit (25-41)

Nov. 11 — Cleveland (21-45)

Nov. 12 — at Detroit (25-41)

Nov. 14 — Memphis (41-25)

Nov. 16 — at New Orleans (21-45)

Nov. 18 — Golden State (23-43)

Nov. 21 — LA Clippers (40-26)

Nov. 23 — at Boston (39-27)

Nov. 24 — at Philadelphia (35-31)

Nov. 26 — Charlotte (7-59)

Nov. 28 — Houston (34-32)

Nov. 30 — Utah (36-30)

Dec. 1 — at New Orleans (21-45)

Dec. 4 — at Brooklyn (22-44)

Dec. 7 — LA Lakers (41-25)

Dec. 9 — Indiana (42-24)

Dec. 12 — New Orleans (21-45)

Dec. 14 — Sacramento (22-44)

Dec. 17 — San Antonio (50-16)

Opponents' combined record: 757-827 (.478)

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