Thunder 2021 Schedule: Top Games, Updated Championship Odds and Predictions

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistFebruary 24, 2021

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (2) during an NBA basketball game against the Chicago Bulls, Friday, Jan. 15, 2021, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press

The Oklahoma City Thunder have struggled to keep pace in the highly competitive Western Conference during the first half of the 2020-21 NBA season, posting a 12-19 record.

While Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has continued his ascent toward establishing himself as a legitimate franchise cornerstone, OKC has lacked the necessary scoring punch behind the third-year guard, ranking second-to-last in offensive efficiency, per ESPN.

The Thunder will look to make a second-half surge toward a playoff berth. Let's check out all the key details following the NBA's release of the remaining schedule Wednesday.


2020-21 Thunder Schedule Details

Second-Half Opener: March 11 vs. Dallas Mavericks at 9 p.m. ET

Championship Odds: +25000; 250-1 (via FanDuel Sportsbook)

Complete Schedule: NBA.com


Top Matchups

Memphis Grizzlies (March 14)

If the Thunder are going to work their way back into a playoff spot, or at least a berth in the play-in tournament, they're going to need a strong record in their remaining games with teams ranked seventh or lower in the Western Conference.

Going up against Memphis also creates the added allure of the backcourt clash between Gilgeous-Alexander and the Grizzlies' Ja Morant.

That head-to-head matchup is worth watching, even if neither of the teams end up earning a postseason berth because of the lack of depth behind them on their respective rosters.


Sacramento Kings (May 4)

The Kings have exceeded most expectations in the season's first half, hovering below .500 to emerge as a fringe playoff contender in a conference already overflowing with them.

While they can't match the depth of most teams in the West, including the Thunder, their starting five is rock-solid, led by De'Aaron Fox and Richaun Holmes, and rookie Tyrese Haliburton has provided the boost off the bench as their sixth man.

It will create an interesting contrast with Oklahoma City leaning on its reserves and Sacramento trying to ride on the shoulders of its top six players.


Season Forecast

The Thunder are a long shot to make the playoffs this season, but there's enough talent on the roster to make it impossible to discount a second-half surge.

Between Gilgeous-Alexander, battle-tested veterans like Al Horford and George Hill, and a group of young players OKC is hoping will blossom—led by Hamidou Diallo, Darius Bazley and Luguentz Dort—it's a squad that can seriously compete when firing on all cylinders.

That youth also figures to benefit the Thunder down the stretch as the condensed schedule with fewer number of multiday breaks starts to take a toll during the latter stages.

Oklahoma City doesn't have much margin for error given the strength of the West, however, so it's likely going to take an extended winning streak or a stretch when it wins nine out of 10 games to climb the standings.

Even if they do sneak into the postseason, it's hard to view the team as a legitimate title contender, but it would be a terrific sign of progress for the organization.

The Thunder have a lot of promising players on their roster, and they have plenty of first-round picks on the horizon to keep building on the current foundation.

Record Prediction: 28-44


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