Kevin Jairaj-US PRESSWIRE
The Houston Rockets got blown out by the Oklahoma City Thunder 120-98. It was the return of James Harden and Kevin Martin’s first chance to stick it to the team that constantly put him in trade talks. Neither player was spectacular but K-Mart got the last laugh last night.
Harden got a standing ovation from the Thunder crowd when he was announced in the starting lineup. That quickly changed once the game started. It was as if two athletes who are best friends suddenly had to go against each other, as did Harden and Kevin Durant.
Harden got off to a rough start and it continued throughout the game. Another former Rocket Hasheem Thabeet went up against Houston and he let it be known he wanted to get payback. Harden and Thabeet got into a scuffle that ignited the crowd. The crowd then booed Harden and shortly after gave Hasheem a standing ovation, which will likely never happen again.
The beard never got it going and finished with 17 points on 3-16 shooting from the field, 2-5 from three and 9-11 from the stripe. He finished with just 2 rebounds and 3 assists in 39 minutes.
His best friend Kevin Durant got the best of Harden and the Rockets by dropping 37 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists in 42 minutes. Kevin Martin didn’t do much better than Harden, but he did finish with 17 points on 6-14 shooting in 27 minutes.
Harden pretended to act like it was just another game before tipoff, but once it started you could tell otherwise. Harden was pressing too much and was too desperate to show his former team what they gave up on. His shot selection was awful and he wasn’t looking for his teammates as much as he usually does.
Harden may have blew a kiss to the crowd when he got booed, but the Oklahoma City crowd and its team got the last laugh with a blowout win. The next matchup will be December 29th in Houston.