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Jan 16, 2013 12:19am
Medium lingzi 1454 posts

OKLAHOMA CITY —James Hardens return to Oklahoma City was only a small part of
an emotional day for the Houston Rockets. Ray McDonald Jersey . Kevin Durant matched
his season high with 37 points and the Thunder beat Houston 120-98 on Wednesday
night, after the Rockets made a stop in Minnesota earlier in the day to attend
the funeral of coach Kevin McHales daughter. Harden scored 17 points, but was
limited to 3-for-16 shooting. He had six shots blocked by the Thunder. After a
draining 24 hours, he was ready to put it behind him. “It felt good just to be
competing against those guys and finally get this over with, to play here and
get it over with,” Harden said. “Now, I can continue on with the season.” Harden
missed his first nine shots, and by the time he made one, the Rockets were down
by double digits in the second half. They never got closer than 10 after that.
Harden, the NBAs Sixth Man of the Year as Oklahoma City made it to the finals
last season, was unable to agree on a contract extension with the Thunder and
was traded just before the season started. Harden said before the game that he
thought there was a “very slight chance” that hed be traded. He has complained
that general manager Sam Presti gave him only one hour to mull over Oklahoma
Citys final offer before the trade. “One minute, I was at dinner with my family.
The next minute, Im headed to Houston,” Harden said. “It happened pretty quick.”
Harden then agreed to a maximum contract worth $80 million with Houston—
something Oklahoma City wasnt willing to offer; there would have been severe
salary cap ramifications if it had. Harden said he felt “relaxed” and not
pressured by the circumstances, although it didnt show in his game. Only a
meaningless 3-pointer in the final 3 minutes prevented him from his worst
shooting percentage yet with Houston. “I just couldnt finish the ball around the
basket,” Harden said. “I had a couple of good looks. I think the other guys feel
the same way.” Harden was at the centre of a heated first-half incident that got
Thunder backup centre Hasheem Thabeet temporarily ejected. Thabeet and Harden
exchanged words after Thabeet blocked two consecutive shots by Harden. Thabeet
then bumped into referee Marc Davis and pushed him away, resulting in an
ejection. But Davis went to instant replay and downgraded the punishment to a
single technical foul. Fans gave Thabeet a standing ovation when he returned to
the court, and booed lustily as Harden made his free throw. It was Hardens first
point of the game and one of only two in the first half. Harden missed all eight
of his shots from the field as Houston fell behind 57-45, never really
threatening after that. “Its crazy,” said Durant, who admitted he couldnt sleep
overnight or when he tried to take a nap Wednesday. “Seeing him before the game
and in chapel just in a different uniform is a little different. Weve moved on
past it, man. Were happy to see him, glad hes doing well out there in Houston
but we wanted this win bad. “For all those days in practice where him, Daequan
(Cook) and Eric Maynor beat the first group, I wanted this win real bad,” Durant
added. The Rockets had flown to Minnesota after blowing out Toronto on Tuesday
night, arriving at the team hotel between 1:30 and 2 a.m. They were back up by 8
for a team brunch and a scouting report in suits and ties before they went to
the funeral. Acting coach Kelvin Sampson said McHale and his wife, Lynn, were
arranging candles near some photos of Sasha and didnt immediately see the team
walk in. “We didnt know what to do or say, so we just waited for them to get
finished, then they turn around and at the same time they looked at us,” Sampson
said. “Really, really, really emotional.” McHale hugged everyone in Houstons
travelling party and shared a few words with each person. He took a leave of
absence from the team on Nov. 10. Sasha died Saturday at age 23 of complications
from lupus. “Just to see our faces, I think, kind of gave him some kind of joy.
Just to show him that we were there, our whole entire organization was there
just to support him,” Harden said. “No matter if it was for 5 minutes or 30
minutes, he just wanted to see our faces. Im glad we got that opportunity to go
out there and share that moment with him.” The team then flew to Oklahoma City,
arriving at the arena less than 5 hours before game time. Sampson said about
half of his players were in the locker room with towels over their heads, trying
to squeeze in a nap during the afternoon. Patrick Patterson scored 27 points and
Omer Asik had 17 points and 12 rebounds to lead the way for the Rockets.
Daequan Cook, also involved in the Harden trade, scored 18 points while starting
in place of injured Rockets forward Chandler Parsons (shoulder). Serge Ibaka
scored 23 points and blocked six shots. Kevin Martin, the centerpiece of the
trade from Oklahoma Citys standpoint, had 17 points. Before the game, the
Thunder flashed a welcome back message to the players who were traded away and
Harden got a warm ovation during starting lineups. Harden and Cook both greeted
coach Scott Brooks and others on the Thunder bench just before tipoff. Harden
missed his first four shots—getting a jumper swatted from behind and out of
bounds by Westbrook, and a fast-break layup blocked as Ibaka followed him to the
basket—and committed two early turnovers. Cook also missed his first three
shots, but then hit a jumper and a 3-pointer for a 19-14 Houston lead. Oklahoma
City took the lead for good with an 18-4 run, including the first nine points of
the second quarter, and went up 36-25 before Thabeet and Harden had their
run-in. The lead grew to 49-33 after Hardens foul allowed Durant to convert a
four-point play. “Every day at practice, we had a war. I knew what each and
every one of those guys do well and what they dont do well and vice-versa,”
Harden said. “I couldnt guard all five of them.” NOTES: Sampson formerly coached
at Oklahoma for 12 seasons. “The circumstances that I took over this position
with, I just dont feel comfortable talking about me. I talk to Kevin every day.
I talked to him the day his daughter died. Im really, really close to Kevin and
Im holding the fort down until he comes back.” ... Parsons hurt his right
shoulder late in Houstons win against Toronto on Tuesday night. “I dont think
its a joint. I think its more soft tissue, but he cant get his elbow past 45
degrees,” Sampson said Donte Whitner Jersey . Scott Cullen looks at
the Penguins staying alive and the Red Wings dying a slow death Friday. A FLEURY
OF ACTIVITYAfter an abysmal start to the series, Penguins G Marc-Andre Fleury
earned his keep in the third period of Game Five, when the Flyers outshot the
Penguins 14-8, yet couldnt score the equalizer, despite many quality chances. Ronnie Lott Womens Jersey . The opening round
was even sweeter with three birdies on the back nine late Thursday afternoon at
Muirfield Village for a 5-under 67, leaving him one-shot out of the lead after a
day that featured a timely rally by Rory McIlroy and a surprising departure by
Phil Mickelson. http://www.nflproshop49ers.com/dashon-goldson-jersey
. The Spaniards gave the Americans a fight they had not run into in London right
from the opening whistle. Early in the game, it was all Juan-Carlos Navarro for
Spain, as the streaky gunner went off for 14 points over the opening 10 minutes.
Patrick Willis White Jersey . The school
announced Tuesday that the former Cyclones star and longtime NBA player has
agreed to an eight-year deal worth an average of $1. Colin Kaepernick White Jersey . “My
relationship with Penn State and everything was a great experience and they gave
me some excellent opportunities,” Silas Redd told reporters Monday
night.PHILADELPHIA—Michael Vick and LeSean McCoy arent practicing because of
concussions and their status for Philadelphias game against Carolina on Monday
night is uncertain. Vick, the four-time Pro Bowl quarterback, was injured
against Dallas on Nov. 11 and missed last weeks loss to Washington. McCoy, an
All-Pro running back last season, was injured in the final minutes of the 31-6
loss to the Redskins. Alex Boone Jersey. Coach Andy Reid said
Wednesday that both players are still in phase one of the recovery process, but
that Vick is closer to returning. Vick joined the team in a meeting and was on
the sideline for a morning walkthrough. McCoy is still having headaches.
Nick Foles would start for Vick and rookie Bryce Brown would take McCoys spot. ’
’ ’ 

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