Originally posted on Around the Arc  |  Last updated 12/28/12
Despite early concern surrounding the trade of James Harden (including from yours truly) the Oklahoma City Thunder seem to be doing pretty well so far this season without the bearded one providing instant offense off of the bench. They are still the team to beat in the West, and have a great shot at a return trip to the Finals this coming summer.  Kevin Martin has provided solid O off the bench, and has taken off some of the scoring load that weighs heavily on Durant and Westbrook.With that being said, James Harden seems to be doing pretty well for himself.  It seems that maybe Harden felt he couldn't develop into a full-fledged superstar sharing the shine with Russ and KD, and that he was capable of being a team's go-to-guy, which he has done his best to prove correct so far this season.Harden is straight beasting in Houston, finally giving the League a glimpse of his full ability, as he seems to be thriving as the focal point of the Rocket's offense.  Yes, both sides seem to be doing fine so far this season despite doubts that the sides needed each other to succeed.  While OKC may be a couple steps closer to championship contention than Houston, Harden has the squad looking like a contender a lot quicker than most expected, as he and Jeremy Lin of "Linsanity" fame have formed one of the League's best backcourts.  The Thunder are headed straight to the playoffs and are an early favorite to make a return trip to the Finals.  While Houston isn't at that level yet, they have made some big strides already this season with Harden at the helm.  In fact, don't be surprised to see these two sides, which once fit together so well, facing each other in a playoff series come spring.--For proof of Harden's developing dominance, take a look at this video from the other night of him closing out the Timberwolves with 17 4th quarter points: Harden dominates T-Wolves.
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