A month ago, Sam Presti shocked the world when he decided to trade James Harden to the Houston Rockets. Tomorrow, Harden will play against his old team for the first time donning the Rockets red. Whilst the OKC Thunder are heavy favorites the win this highly anticipated matchup, there is no doubt that they have had this game circled on their calendar since the trade went down. And one thing that you can guarantee is that Harden will bring his ‘A’ game. Nevertheless, the Thunder claim that they are approaching it as just another game.
“No, it’s not just another game. I want to beat the Rockets,” Brooks said. “They traded me in the second championship year. It took me five years to get over Rudy Tomjanovich. Now we’re best buddies. But yeah, it’s still personal.”
“Obviously with James coming back, the fans are going to be excited to see him,” Brooks said. “But I really believe they’re going to cheer him on early and cheer for us the rest of the game.”
“There’s no question it’s probably more emotional for the guy playing against his former team than a team playing against one player,” he said. “Because we look at tomorrow’s game as we have to beat the Rockets.”
“It won’t be nothing for me. Nothing happened to me. It’s another night man,” said Westbrook. “Like I said, those guys, James, Daequan, Cole, we’re all still good friends. But we got to go in and take care of business.”
Russell Westbrook on defending Harden: “I mean, I don’t know what it’s like. Because we ain’t played yet. But it’s different. He has a green light over there, he plays freely. He’s able to basically do whatever he wants. But we just have to do a good job of team defense and we’ll be alright.”
On how much he’s talked to Harden: “None really. Not much.”
The Thunder can say all the want about how this is just another game, but you know they are psyched for this one. And don’t sleep on the Rockets. Four days ago, they dismantled the New York Knicks in what was Jeremy Lin’s first game against his old team. This is just another test for this young squad who seemingly thrive when they are being overlooked. You’d be silly to miss it.
Read more at the Daily Thunder.