Claremore Daily Progress

Sports

November 29, 2012

NBA: Thunder hands Harden, Rockets a beatdown

(Continued)

OKLAHOMA CITY — "I just couldn't 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 center of a heated first-half incident that got Thunder backup center 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 Harden's 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.

"It's crazy," said Durant, who admitted he couldn't 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. We've moved on past it, man. We're happy to see him, glad he's 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 didn't immediately see the team walk in.

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