If basketball can have a seismic event, then one certainly happened on October 27, when at the most unlikely of hours on a Saturday night, Oklahoma City traded James Harden to Houston.
At the time, it seemed like the biggest threat to the power structure in the Western Conference, with the Thunder dealing their prized sixth man to the Rockets for Kevin Martin and change. Oklahoma City would be worse was the drumbeat of many a talking head, and as they headed into the season with no time for their new roster to gel, it seemed to be at least grounded in some modicum of logic.
But quickly, the notion that the Thunder were any worse abated, as Kevin Durant continued to be Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook continued to be Russell Westbrook, and both 24-year-olds got a year older and a bit better. By Jan. 1, the Thunder were 24-6, with the fewest losses of any team in the NBA. They looked like the best. Maybe they were the best. Maybe then.
But maybe not now.
As of Sunday, the Thunder h...