For all that Thunder players have experienced already in their short time in the NBA, a long and grueling road trip really has not been one of them.
Until this past week.
The Thunder returned home Sunday after a 105-96 road loss to the Los Angeles Lakers, a disappointing defeat that dropped Oklahoma City to 3-3 on its six-game trip.
It was the longest road trip in the Thunder's brief history, an 11-day odyssey that covered more than 3,500 miles and, quite frankly, was mired in mediocrity.
No one in the Thunder's traveling party wanted to publicly concede that the journey played a role in the subpar performances. And maybe it didn't. But because Oklahoma City is centrally located, and no event annually takes over Chesapeake Energy Arena for a long stretch during the season, the Thunder hasn't had to adjust to being away from home for as long as it was last week.
Last year's lockout-shortened season scheduled the Thunder for two five-game trips. OKC went 3-2 on both. In each of the first three seasons of the franchise's existence, the longest road trips were just four games.
That's a stark contrast to teams like San Antonio, Chicago, the Clippers and Lakers, all of whom annually must vacate their home buildings for seven, eight or even nine games to make way for the rodeo, circus or Grammys.
“It was a long road trip, but everybody has the same amount of road games. It's not like we're the only team that had a long road trip,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks, starting a no-excuse mentality from the top. “It's over.”