OKLAHOMA CITY Used to be, James Harden was cheered, not booed, even when he was bad.
And by now you know what happened Wednesday night in his return to Oklahoma City as a starter and star for the Houston Rockets.
Harden was real bad.
Used to be, he was the most-popular player in Thunder blue, thanks to a game with flair and a beard that that was so popular it developed its own 16,000-follower Twitter account. Seemed like coming off the bench for the Thunder only added to his popularity, his mystery and his fame. Good enough to make the Olympic team, star in commercials, all the while never playing in the shadows of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, but playing alongside them, despite coming into the game, not starting them.
Man, those were the days.
Used to be, his team could survive and win when he had an off night, thanks to Durant andor Westbrook. On those off-nights, Harden could quietly slip out the back door, avoid those pesky questions and redeem himself the next tim...