Tomorrow marks exactly a month since the blockbuster trade that sent OKC’s James Harden, Cole Aldrich, Daequan Cook and Lazar Hayward to Houston in return for Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb and picks. Now that the dust has settled, the Rockets will take on the Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena tomorrow night in the 1st matchup between the teams this season. So are the Thunder treating it like any other game?
According to Daily Thunder:
“Obviously with James coming back, the fans are going to be excited to see him,” Brooks said. “But I really believe they’re going to cheer him on early and cheer for us the rest of the game.”
“There’s no question it’s probably more emotional for the guy playing against his former team than a team playing against one player,” he said. “Because we look at tomorrow’s game as we have to beat the Rockets.”
On Thabo Sefolosha guarding James Harden: “The crazy thing is though, good players seem to figure out how to get their points and get their game going,” Brooks said. “Everybody knows the league pretty well. You know how to stop Kevin Durant, but it’s hard to do it. You know how to stop Russell, but it’s hard to do it. That’s what makes the great players special. And James, it’s hard to stop him.”
“He’s going to be hit with a lot of emotions. Especially the closer it gets to tipoff,” Martin said. “But the fans love him here, he had success. So it should be a good welcoming for him.”
What about for him personally playing against the Rockets?
“I had some great years down there. Not being in a Rockets uniform, it’ll be a little emotional,” he said. “But it’s part of the business and you wish them the best of luck and you go on with the game and try and win it.”
“It won’t be nothing for me. Nothing happened to me. It’s another night man,” said Westbrook. “Like I said, those guys, James, Daequan, Cole, we’re all still good friends. But we got to go in and take care of business.”
On defending Harden: “I mean, I don’t know what it’s like. Because we ain’t played yet. But it’s different. He has a green light over there, he plays freely. He’s able to basically do whatever he wants. But we just have to do a good job of team defense and we’ll be alright.”
On how much he’s talked to Harden: “None really. Not much.”