When does Russell Westbrook return to OKC and more Thunder takeaways from NBA second-half schedule
The Thunder’s second-half schedule will begin with a March 11 home game against the Mavericks, and OKC’s season will conclude May 16 at home against the Clippers.
The NBA released its second-half schedule Wednesday. The Thunder has five games remaining in the first half, and then it will return from a week-long All-Star break to embark on another 36-game stretch to finish the reduced 72-game schedule.
Here are 10 takeaways from the Thunder’s second-half schedule:
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Both of those games have been rescheduled for the second half.
The Thunder will play at the Rockets on March 21, and the Thunder will host the 76ers on April 10.
The Thunder’s 72-game schedule consists of three games against every other team in the West (42 games) and two games — one home, one away — against every team in the East (30 games).
The Thunder’s second half will feature 16 games against teams it didn’t face in the first half: Celtics (two games), Kings (three games), Pacers (two games), Pistons (two games), Raptors (two games), Warriors (three games) and Wizards (two games).
The Thunder will play three 1 p.m. games in March.
The Thunder will host a weekend back-to-back on March 13 against the Knicks and March 14 against the Grizzlies. Both games are at 1 p.m.
The Thunder’s game at the Rockets on March 21, a Sunday, will also be at 1 p.m.
Returns of Westbrook and Paul
Russell Westbrook and the Wizards will play in Oklahoma City on April 23.
It will be just the second time Westbrook returns to Chesapeake Energy Arena as an opponent.
Chris Paul, in his first season with the Suns after one season with the Thunder, won’t return to OKC until May 2.
The Thunder had four two-game series against the same opponent in the first half.
OKC only has two “baseball series” in the second half.
The Thunder will play at the Warriors on May 6 and May 8 and at the Kings on May 9 and May 11.
The Thunder will have nine back-to-back sets in the second half after eight in the first half.
The Grizzlies and Spurs, both heavily impacted by COVID-related postponements, will play 11 back-to-backs in the second half.
Strength of schedule
According to ESPN’s metric, which weighs home/road, back-to-backs and quality of opponent, the Thunder has the 13th-toughest second-half schedule.
Houston, New York and Portland are projected to have the hardest schedules. Miami, Toronto and Utah are projected to have the easiest.
The Thunder will play 19 home games and 17 road games in the second half.
Before a Wednesday night game against the Spurs, the Thunder was 4-10 at home and 8-9 on the road.
The Thunder will have a pair of four-game home stands in the second half.
OKC will host the Grizzlies, Celtics, Mavericks and Raptors from March 24 to 31. Then it will host the Pistons, Hornets, Cavaliers and 76ers from April 5 to 10.
The Thunder will have three four-game road trips: March 16-22, April 16-21 and May 6-11.
The last trip is to the West Coast, and all four games will tip-off at 9 p.m.
The Thunder, which played zero games on national TV in the first half, is scheduled to play on NBA TV March 13 against the Knicks.
To no surprise, OKC was shut out of the ABC, ESPN and TNT slots.
Thunder’s second-half schedule
March 11: vs. Mavericks (8 p.m.)
March 13: vs. Knicks (1 p.m.)
March 14: vs. Grizzlies (1 p.m.)
March 16: at Bulls (7 p.m.)
March 18: at Hawks (6:30 p.m.)
March 21: at Rockets (1 p.m.)
March 22: at Timberwolves (7 p.m.)
March 24: vs. Grizzlies (7 p.m.)
March 27: vs. Celtics (8 p.m.)
March 29: vs. Mavericks (7 p.m.)
March 31: vs. Raptors (7 p.m.)
April 2: at Suns (8 p.m.)
April 3: at Trail Blazers (9 p.m.)
April 5: vs. Pistons (6 p.m.)
April 7: vs. Hornets (7 p.m.)
April 8: vs. Cavaliers (7 p.m.)
April 10: vs. 76ers (8 p.m.)
April 13: at Jazz (8 p.m.)
April 14: vs. Warriors (8 p.m.)
April 16: at Pistons (6 p.m.)
April 18: at Raptors (6 p.m.)
April 19: at Wizards (7 p.m.)
April 21: at Pacers (6 p.m.)
April 23: vs Wizards (7 p.m.)
April 26: at 76ers (6 p.m.)
April 27: at Celtics (6 p.m.)
April 29: vs. Pelicans (8 p.m.)
May 1: vs. Pacers (7 p.m.)
May 2: vs. Suns (7 p.m.)
May 4: vs. Kings (7 p.m.)
May 6: at Warriors (9 p.m.)
May 8: at Warriors (9 p.m.)
May 9: at Kings (9 p.m.)
May 11: at Kings (9 p.m.)
May 14: vs. Jazz (9 p.m.)
May 16: vs. Clippers (TBD)