In Harden's first meeting with the Thunder a month ago, Oklahoma City's former Sixth Man of the Year saw six of his shots get swatted on a night in which he'd finish 3 for 16 from the field. Harden did manage to scrap together 17 points but that didn't help his team much as the Rockets were crushed, 120-98.
Round two between these teams should be far more competitive though as the Rockets have looked like an entirely different team since that game. Oklahoma City's first victory back in November knocked Houston under .500 but since that time, they're 9-4. Additionally, the Rockets are currently in the midst of a five-game winning streak in which they've averaged 112.4 points per contest. Those gaudy numbers have propelled Houston to the honor of the highest scoring team in the National Basketball Association at 105.3 ppg.
Then again, it's not as if the Thunder have been struggling. Kevin Durant and company have only compiled two losses since Harden's initial homecoming in Oklahoma City. Also helping their cause is that they very well could be encountering a Rockets team at less than full strength with Houston having to face a tough Spurs team Friday evening.
Don't let that scare you away though; this one is sure to be a hard-fought western conference battle between two surefire playoff teams.
For the full NBA schedule, follow this link.