OKC Thunder: Top 10 Intriguing Matchups For 2014-15 Season

Wednesday, August 13th 2014, 7:57 pm

By: News 9

10. vs. Hornets (Dec. 26)

With the improvement of Kemba Walker and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist along with additions Al Jefferson and Lance Stephenson, the Hornets are one of the rising powers in the East – but that's not why this game makes the list.

It will be the first ever meeting between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Charlotte Hornets. The Seattle Sonics played the Charlotte Hornets, and the OKC Thunder played both the Charlotte Bobcats and New Orleans Hornets, but we've never seen this combination. A new tradition will be born the day after Christmas.

9. vs. Celtics (March 18)

You won't confuse this Boston team with any of the great teams of the past, but it's still the Celtics. Any time you can see a franchise like that play, take advantage – it's a cool story to tell the grandkids.

But if seeing that clover and leprechaun logo alone isn't enough to get you to watch, perhaps you'll want to see former Oklahoma State star Marcus Smart make his return to Oklahoma. If you ever wondered how Smart would handle playing against Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, this is your chance to find out.

RELATED STORY: 2014-15 Thunder Schedule Released 

8. vs. Knicks (Nov. 28)

Like the Celtics, the Knicks are in full rebuilding mode, so if you're looking for a good matchup, this probably won't be it. But it will mark the return of current Knicks coach and former Thunder fan-favorite Derek Fisher. Expect a rousing ovation from the Chesapeake-Arena crowd for one of the NBA's good guys.

7. @ Clippers (Oct. 30)

The Thunder's season starts off with a bang – a back-to-back against the Blazers and Clippers. And while this should be a terrific battle between two of the NBA's elites, it will also mark the first meeting between the two since former owner Donald Sterling was ousted.

With new owner Steve Ballmer taking over in LA, the Clips should play this season with a lifted weight off their shoulders. And you can bet coach Doc Rivers and his team haven't forgotten about the end of Game 5 of last season's Western Conference Semifinals. Expect this to get heated.

6. vs. Rockets (Nov. 16)

The Rockets let Chandler Parsons walk to Dallas and dumped Jeremy Lin because they thought Chris Bosh would take his talents to Houston, but once Bosh re-upped in Miami, the Rockets settled for Trevor Ariza. Houston should take a minor step back this season, barring a miracle.

But that doesn't mean it still won't be fun for fans to go boo them. With Thunder castoff James Harden and the always-aggressive Patrick Beverley, Houston's visits to Oklahoma City have become personal.

5. vs. Heat (March 22)

Speaking of polarizing opponents, the Miami Heat will make their lone trip to Oklahoma City on March 22. Miami won't spark quite as much discussion without LeBron James, but there will be plenty of teams who won't mind turning off the Heat.

Even more than the teams, the fans will want this win. During Miami's four-year run to the NBA Finals, wins against them team were rare. And while the Heat will still be solid, it'll be significantly easier to take them down.  It's revenge time for much of the NBA.

4. @ Spurs (Dec. 25)

Not much to discuss when it comes to the Spurs. It doesn't seem to matter what they do in the regular season, San Antonio peaks just in time for the postseason.

So a December trip to the Alamo won't necessarily be indicative of what might happen in the playoffs, but it's always fun to play Christmas Day. LeBron's return to Miami will get the Christmas headlines, but Thunder vs. Spurs will by far be the highest-quality matchup.  Just sit back and enjoy some great basketball.

3. vs. Bulls (March 15)

In the new-look Eastern Conference, with the Heat and Pacers no longer ruling the land, the race for the top is wide open. The Bulls are one of the favorites in that race as all of Chicago hopes Derrick Rose can finally keep his knee together. If Rose can indeed stay healthy, Chicago's trip to OKC might just be an NBA Finals preview.

And don't forget about the Pau Gasol factor. Gasol was reportedly close to signing with Oklahoma City before inking a deal with the Bulls.

2. @ Wizards (Jan. 21)

A few months ago, this potential game wouldn't even raise an eyebrow. But after LeBron returned to Cleveland to play for his hometown Cavs, pundits and fans started speculating that Durant will do the same when his contract expires after the 2015-16 season.

The attention toward Durant and Washington won't likely subside for the next two years, so any time one entity meets the other, expect chaos. And when the Wizards introduce Durant in the Thunder's starting lineup, expect the entire Wizards crowd to rise and cheer.

Washington's campaign for Durant starts now.

1. vs. Cavs (Dec. 11)

Any time Matthew Dellavedova and Joe Harris make a trip to Oklahoma City, it's a huge deal. However, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love (probably) and LeBron James will also help spark that excitement.

The NBA's newest dream team will make its lone trip to OKC in early December in what could also be a Finals preview. But more than anything, any time you get a chance to watch James and Durant play against each other, it's must-see TV.



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