Enjoy the Thunder while you can Monday night.
After this Spurs game inside Chesapeake Energy Arena closes out a five-game home stand, the Thunder will be hitting the road for its most brutal stretch of this year's schedule.
Fifteen of the Thunder's next 22 games will be on the road.
It's an inevitable slate that comes on the heels of the Thunder having the benefit of playing 16 of its first 24 at home.
It's also a stretch that will show what the Thunder is really made of this season.
Oklahoma City has jumped out to an NBA-best 19-4 start with the help of its favorable home stretch. The Thunder is 13-2 at home going into Monday night and will have completed a league-most 16 home games after the Spurs contest.
But from Tuesday through the end of January, the Thunder's challenge will be maintaining the early season momentum while managing fatigue that potentially could creep in from being on the road for 26 days out of 45.
“It's going to be our focus and our concentration,” said Nick Collison when asked what the key will be. “I think that's kind of what it always is, avoiding bad stretches and avoiding getting lost on possessions on the offensive end and the defensive end.”
The Thunder seems to have had the right ingredients for road success over the past three seasons. Since 2009-10, the Thunder has a .609 road winning percentage, the highest in the league over that span. The Spurs have won four more over that span but also have lost three more, which puts them just a shade behind the Thunder for second with a .607 road winning percentage.
San Antonio's seven-game road discrepancy illustrates how much of a break the Thunder got to start this season. While Monday's game is the Thunder's 16th home game of the season it's the Spurs' 16th road game.
If the Thunder was to maintain its current pace, Oklahoma City would win 68 games. You'd be hard-pressed to find many who believe that level of success is sustainable. On the surface, a rough patch, in whatever form, seems unavoidable in this next stretch, which is why it will be such a good challenge.
Oklahoma City's road test starts Wednesday at Atlanta (a team that already defeated the Thunder in OKC) before continuing on the second night of a back-to-back at Minnesota. The Thunder will then fly home for a few practices but hit the road again for the highly anticipated NBA Finals rematch on Christmas at Miami.
That cross-country tour is one of two three-game trips the Thunder has scheduled through January. Within that batch also is the team's season-long six-game road trip that starts in Dallas and swings through Denver, Los Angeles (against the Clippers), Golden State and Sacramento before ending in L.A. (against the Lakers).
“Sometimes it's harder on the road, but sometimes it's easier. too,” Collison said. “Sometimes at home you get too lackadaisical. But our focus just has to be good to keep it going.”