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Oklahoma City Thunder: Plenty of rest is built into Thunder schedule

The Thunder will receive as much rest as any team can ask for over the course of an 82-game season. Road trips are relatively short, games are sufficiently spaced out and the entire schedule is about as balanced as can be.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: August 13, 2014

One star was saddled by surgeries last season, forced from his perch atop all other players as the league’s best active ironman.

Another recently conceded fatigue was the reason he could not play for his country this summer.

The good news for Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant is there is ample rest built into the Oklahoma City Thunder’s schedule next season.

That was the biggest takeaway from OKC’s standpoint when the NBA unveiled the league-wide schedule for the 2014-15 season Wednesday.

The Thunder will receive as much rest as any team can ask for over the course of an 82-game season. Road trips are relatively short, games are sufficiently spaced out and the entire schedule is about as balanced as can be.

It’s an unexpected luxury for a Thunder team needing to again monitor Westbrook’s surgically repaired right knee, as well as better manage Durant’s league-leading minute tally while looking to capture its first NBA title.

Oklahoma City’s schedule includes 18 back-to-back sets, which ties the Thunder for the league’s third fewest. The Los Angeles Lakers have just 16 back-to-backs, but by comparison Detroit and the Charlotte Hornets are each scheduled for 22 back-to-backs.

None of the Thunder’s back-to-backs are a part of a stretch of four games in five nights. Oklahoma City had one such stretch last season. Golden State, for example, has four this year.

Nineteen of the Thunder’s first 41 games are at home, which means 22 of the final 41 will be played inside Chesapeake Energy Arena. Last season, the Thunder had 21 of its first 41 at home and 20 of its final 41 at home.

As part of its home schedule, the Thunder will enjoy three four-game home stands, two of them coming in March as part of a nine-game stretch.

There’s also a layoff due to a scheduling quirk, like the one that gives the Thunder five days off between a home game against Utah and a road game against Houston in mid-January.

Travel should be a breeze, too.

Things settle down soon after the Thunder opens the season with five games in seven nights, four of them coming on the road. The longest trip of the season is five games, a slate that will put the Thunder on the road for 10 days for an east coast swing through Orlando, Miami, Washington, Atlanta and Cleveland.

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by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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