He was a beloved part of the Oklahoma City Thunder's Big-3. Fans loved him so much they wrote songs about his beard. But come Sunday James Harden will find a different atmosphere at Chesapeake Arena when he and his Houston Rockets come to town for the first round of the NBA Playoffs.
There just might be a boo or two. The cheers will definitely not be in his favor.
It will be just his second trip back to Oklahoma City since being traded back in late September. But Nick Collison says Harden's return is too over hyped.
"He's probably going to play against the Thunder 40 more times in his career," said the Thunder forward, Nick Collison. "Eventually everyone's going to have to get over it. For us we all know him, but we're going to try to guard him and beat him. I think we'll be asked that a lot this week, but it's not a big deal to us. It's the playoffs and we're ready to go."
The Thunder host James Harden and the Rockets this Sunday in game one at 8:30p.m. Game two is also in Oklahoma City on Wednesday at 6:00p.m.
The series moves to Houston a week from Saturday for game three. That game tips off at 8:30p.m. at the Toyota Center. The tip time for game four in Houston has not been decided.