NBA Houston RocketsOklahoma City Thunder

2013 NBA Playoffs: Oklahoma City Thunder Will Silence James Harden, Houston Rockets

Troy Taormina-USA Today Sports

The headline story heading into the Oklahoma City Thunder‘s first round match-up with the Houston Rockets is the match-up between James Harden and his former team.

Harden was acquired by the Rockets just prior to the start of the 2012-13 regular season after a fantastic start to his career with the Thunder. Harden has put up some great numbers this season and really appears to be set on having a great future with Houston. It’s ironic that Harden will square off with the Thunder in the first round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs, and even more so that it was set in stone on the final game of the regular season.

Houston lost their chance at the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference by falling to the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday night. Now as the No. 8 seed, they must face an Oklahoma City squad that has simply taken care of business this season in their efforts to return to the NBA Finals. Kevin Durant has had another terrific season despite coming short in his bid for a fourth consecutive scoring title. Durant’s efficiency has been spectacular throughout his career, but it will be interesting to see how teams either limit his shot selection or Oklahoma City pushes to get him more looks than what he averaged during the regular season here in the playoffs.

Either way, Harden may put up some nice numbers in this series, but the Rockets just don’t have the firepower to hang with the Thunder in this series.

Oklahoma City and Houston will begin on Sunday night in Game 1 of this series. Tip-off time is scheduled for 9:30pm (EST).

 

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