The Rockets hope the Harden/OKC Reunion Part Deux turns out differently on Saturday than what happened the first time around.
Back on November 28, there was much fanfare for James Harden's return to Oklahoma City. After two years with the Thunder, Harden was traded to the Rockets in a blockbuster deal right before the 2012-'13 regular season along with Cole Aldrich, Daequan Cook, and Lazar Hayward for Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb, two first-round picks, as well as a second rounder.
Unfortunately for Harden, he shot 3-16 in his return game. He did finish with 17 points, but the Rockets lost 120-98. In fact, Daequan Cook had the better returning performance that night, taking advantage of a starting opportunity when Chandler Parsons and Carlos Delfino were injured, and had 18 points, including a rim-rattling baseline dunk.
Of course, Harden was not alone in his struggles. Jeremy Lin had six points in 41 minutes that night (he did, however, have four steals and eight assists). And, as mentioned earlier, Parsons and Delfino were injured.
On the bright side, Russell Westbrook was held to 14 points. On the downside, Serge Ibaka made up for it with 23 points and six blocks. And, oh yeah, there's that certain Durantula insect that seems to bite NBA teams quite a bit: Kevin Durant had 37 points and seven rebounds that night.
Needless to say, the Rockets need a reversal of many of these fortunes when Harden faces his former teammates for the second time.