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Wednesday, November 28th, 2012 at 9:55 am  |  23 responses

James Harden Says Facing OKC Thunder is ‘Just Another Game’


by Marcel Mutoni / @marcel_mutoni

It’s a typical response from players going up against their former teams for the first time. Time and again, athletes claim that it’s no different from any other game, but we know better.

James Harden will face the OKC Thunder tonight for the first time since they shockingly traded him, and the Houston Rockets star forward insists that it’s no big deal at all.

Per the Houston Chronicle:

“I’m on the road trying to get a win,” Harden said. “That’s no different than when we played at Memphis or Atlanta or whatever the case may be.” Harden was dealt to the Rockets days before the start of the regular season when he could not come to an agreement on a contract extension with the Thunder. The Rockets signed him to a five-year, $80 million max deal. He said he never expected to leave Oklahoma City after the trip to the NBA Finals last season or through the summer on the Olympic team with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, but he refuses to consider the game special.

“To be honest, I don’t even know,” he said. “It will be good to see some faces, some old teammates and coaches. They’re all my family. I look forward to every single game I play. It’s just another game.”

Daequan Cook, who was traded to Houston along with Harden and Cole Aldrich, was a bit more candid about the significance of tonight’s sure-to-be-emotional duel in OKC. Cook says James Harden will be in attack mode and looking to send his old squad a message.

Unexpectedly, Thunder head coach Scott Brooks has his own score to settle: “It’s not another game,” Brooks told media in Oklahoma City on Tuesday, playing with the notion of a reunion game for Harden, Kevin Martin and others in the trade. “I want to beat the Rockets. 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.”

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  • Nbk

    He is a liar! He wants to throw the same type of elbow that Metta world peace threw @ him

  • blackthought

    maybe his brain sunk into his beard, when he delievered that line. it`s not a normal game, and there`s no shame 2 it. in a few years, when durant & westbrook can flash harden with some bling, he`ll understand.

  • ByAnyMeansNecessary

    All guys who go back to places they used to play say this. Nothing different. We all know it’s not just another game. Not when he walks into that arena and sees those fans who will be cheering for him. And he sees Russell and Kevin. Definitely won’t be just another game.

  • Dagger

    Perhaps after attending the memorial service for McHale’s daughter just before the game, Harden’s mind will be on bigger things. Death tends to put things like basketball games in their proper context.

  • Dymez

    “It’s just another game….. where I need to score 40 or 50 points and outshine Kevin Durant.” (I’m paraphrasing, of course)

  • Ben Ireland

    I’d love for Scott Brooks to come out in a uni, play for a few minutes… That’d show the Rockets for trading him !

  • ByAnyMeansNecessary

    I think either way you cut it, today will be a long day.

  • roscoe

    he said the right thing

  • bike

    I wish he would dye his beard bright red for the game tonight.

  • K_HOLIDAY

    When the media has to even ask a question like that, the game is a BIG game. Dont care what the coaches and players say about it. Guys like Harden and Durant are going to give you the politically correct answers, but deep down Harden is looking to burn OKC and Durant has to match that intensity to make sure he defends the organizations decision to trade Harden, no matter how close they are off the court.

  • http://twitter.com/Jzakoni Sanchez

    Harden finna score 138 points tonight

  • Redd

    Bad liar, I’m sure he’ll be looking to make Martin look inferior.

  • http://www.facebook.com/HolyBaller Dillan Leu

    Sefolosha is gonna lock him DOWN, mark my words. The Thunder struggle with guarding point guards and big men, but they have most wing players on lock. I predict an 18-4-4 game for Harden.

  • Dutch Rich

    Why focus on the non Harden comment when Scott Brooks gives you an epic quote.

  • Atsushi

    He will be like Chuck Norris today.
    But in the end of the day he will understand it’s all about the W’s.
    It’s better to accept a lesser role for a contender than play Hero for a non-playoff team.
    Houston will win nothing in near future.

  • http://twitter.com/DPisWill DePaul Williams

    I played against James Harden at open runs in Scottsdale, AZ when he was at Arizona State…this guy is no different than most HIGHLY COMPETITIVE people lol…best believe he will be highly motivated for this game

  • SirGrey

    You could be right. But hey, you never know. Durant, Russell and Harden probably saw Thabo’s ass in practice everyday.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    lol welcome back.

  • bigA

    that argument goes both ways.

  • http://www.facebook.com/HolyBaller Dillan Leu

    Called it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Gilbert/100001749589586 Mike Gilbert

    supes awk

  • headlines

    If just another game means “I’m going to play like garbage”, then yeah it was just another game. Harden did not show up tonight in the slightest.

  • Max

    U were right.

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