Fear not, OKC.
The Beard got a lesson in super-stardom by former teammate Kevin Durant Wednesday night in Oklahoma City. Harden's 3-16 shooting performance wasn't enough to keep up with Durant's 37 points and seven rebounds as the Thunder grounded the new-look Houston Rockets 120-98.
The two teams spent the first quarter and change feeling each other out, but that would soon change.
It got heated quickly in the second after Hasheem Thabeet blocked Harden's driving layup attempt. Thabeet had words for Harden, which started some minor shoving and ended with Thabeet being ejected from the game. After an extensive video review, the officials ruled Thabeet's actions weren't ejection-worthy, and simply gave him a technical foul.
Although the call gave Houston a technical free throw, it gave OKC a major energy boost. The ‘Peake exploded and the Thunder turned a 10-point lead into 18 in a matter of minutes.
Houston fought back and cut the halftime deficit to 12, but Oklahoma City used a quick 7-2 burst out of the second-half gate to squash any hopes of a comeback.
Patrick Patterson's 27 points led the way for the Rockets while Omer Asik added 17 and 12 rebounds. Former Thunder guard Daequan Cook earned the start for Houston, scoring 18 points on 7-17 shooting, but it was Harden's rough night that will echo the loudest.
Harden scrapped his way to 17 points, mostly thanks to knocking down 9-11 from the line, but his 0-8 first-half shooting performance allowed his former teammates to seize control. Harden recorded a -17 plus/minus, had six of his shot attempts blocked and turned it over three times.
One of those former teammates, Serge Ibaka, added 23 points on 11-13 shooting, while grabbing nine boards and blocking six shots in arguably his strongest game of the year. Former Rocket Kevin Martin also scored 17, but recorded a +21 on 6-14 shooting.
The Thunder shot 54 percent to Houston's 41, while out-rebounding the Rockets 46-38.
The win improves Oklahoma City to 12-4 and drops Houston to 7-8. Next up for the Thunder is a Friday night home date with the Utah Jazz. Tip is scheduled for 7 p.m.