James Harden Can’t Get Revenge On OKC; Eric Gordon Is Back

By: 12.30.12
Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant (photo. Nike)

The last time James Harden played against his old team, he had a nightmare game, a half dozen of his shots blocked back into his face. This time, he made his first shot in Kevin Durant‘s face, and was good enough to drop 25 points (still only 9-for-33 shooting against OKC this year). But while the first half played out like a tape from the old And1 video game, the second half became a mismatch, and the Thunder went on to win 124-94. Between a 16-0 run to end the first half (Rockets certainly helped by committing five turnovers in one four-second span), and a third quarter where the Thunder lit up Houston like a Christmas tree, Oklahoma City turned a two-point game into a 25-point blowout. Durant (26 points) overcame a slow start to turn the Houston crowd into admiring spectators in the third quarter, and Russell Westbrook added 28 points, eight glass cleaners and eight assists. It was at least competitive in the first half. Houston was throwing every outlet to midcourt, Westbrook was running around like a chicken with his head cut off, and compared to the New Orleans/Charlotte game we were watching at the same time, this was about 150 times more fun … Heard during the Rockets’ broadcast: “Kendrick Perkins is no threat to shoot. They just give it to him so they can get their dribble back.” Harsh … Brooklyn barely survived a 26-foot triple from Kyrie Irving that rimmed out, beating Cleveland for their second straight win under P.J. Carlesimo, 103-100. Despite the loss, C.J. Miles changed clothes with Reggie Miller for a night, scoring 33 points and missing just four shots. He even had a second quarter dunk that was so powerful, the basket started shaking harder than LeSean McCoy. He was matched by Brook Lopez (35 points, 11 boards), who made almost every big play down the stretch … Dion Waiters is still just a rookie, but he deserves a spot on our all-irrational confidence squad. If we’re naming a few others off the top of our head, we’re going with J.R. Smith (we already wrote about this), Rajon Rondo, John Lucas III, and of course, Kobe. Damon Jones gets to coach … Whether he was getting put in a headlock by Mario Chalmers or nailing deep three-point bombs, Brandon Jennings (25 points) had his own version of the Kobe face going throughout the final period of Milwaukee’s surprising 19-point blowout of the defending champs. Outscoring Miami by three touchdowns in the first eight minutes of the fourth quarter, the Bucks weren’t even challenged. LeBron James did his thing (26 points) but he was partially nullified because Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (19 points) played out of his mind … In college ball, after four consecutive losses to the ‘Cats, Louisville finally took out Kentucky yesterday, 80-77, which would be big if Coach Cal‘s squad wasn’t struggling so much. There were a few interesting NBA prospects in this one: Chane Behanan had 20 and secured the win by stealing Archie Goodwin‘s (22 points) dish in the closing seconds … Keep reading to hear about the worst night of Roy Hibbert’s career …

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