It’ll be time to “take down” a couple of familiar foes when the Oklahoma City Thunder hosts the Houston Rockets in the first two games of their best-of-7 NBA playoff series starting Sunday night here in the city. OKC will run smack-dab into former Thunder star James Harden, in his first season with the Rockets, when the opener tips off at 8:30pm Sunday inside “the Peake” downtown and on national TV.
Harden has been brilliant for Houston since being traded to the Rockets just five days before the start of the regular season. He finished fifth in the league in scoring (26 ppg) and poured in a career high 46 points earlier this year in Houston's lone victory over the Thunder in three regular season meetings.
Also in Houston, former Sooners head coach Kelvin Sampson is on the Rockets bench, as the top assistant to head coach Kevin McHale. In fact, Sampson took over the Houston ballclub on an "interim" basis earlier this year when McHale tended to his family following the tragic death of the coach's 23 year old daughter. Sampson served as head coach for 10-15 games and by all accounts, performed quite well. Look for him to get his own NBA head coaching job very soon.
The Thunder is very confident going into the playoffs after resting Kevin Durant, Kendrick Perkins, Nick Collison, Kevin Martin and Derek Fisher in the regular season finale to Milwaukee Wednesday night. Listen to comments from head coach Scott Brooks and others including the former Thunder great James Harden.