James Harden used to be a dyed-in-the-wool Thunder Broington, the kind of guy who would wander around a party with Kevin Durant. But now he’s a Houston Rocket, starting and leading the team in scoring while hopefully trying to set up his own buddy clique down in Clutch City. You know all this.
But the reason I bring it up is because tonight is the first time James Harden returns to Oklahoma City in a new uniform. As such, everybody’s trying to play it cool like Beardo wasn’t a key member of a team that lost the NBA Finals like 10 minutes ago and they wouldn’t miss him, no way, even if he were. But Thunder coach Scott Brooks admits tonight’s game means just a little bit more than the usual late November matchup. From Royce Young:
“No, it’s not just another game. I want to beat the Rockets. They traded me in the second championship year.”
Oh. That’s why tonight’s game isn’t just another game? Because Scott Brooks got traded 20 years ago? Neat.
Personally, I thought it’d be something juicier. Something like, “No, it’s not just another game. I want to beat the Rockets. We want to prove we don’t need James Harden, which is why I had these shirts made up for everyone to wear during warmups.”
Turns out that’s just a random shirt for sale in some store in Oklahoma City, not something from Scott Brooks’ personal collection. Oh well. Just a normal game tonight, unless you’re still upset about that huge trade — you know, the one involving the backup point guard on the 1994-95 Houston Rockets. Other than that, nothing to see here.