Posted April 20, 2013 on AP on Fox
The Beard is back. In a classic plot twist to spice up the NBA playoffs, Harden and his Houston Rockets faded just enough in the final stretch of the regular season to drop to the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference, just as his old team locked up the top seed. That set up a first-round clash between Harden and the Oklahoma City Thunder, the team that drafted him and where he spent his first three seasons in the league. ''I knew it was going to happen like this, for some reason,'' Harden said. ''That's the beauty of it, that's what basketball is.'' Harden, who couldn't agree to terms to extend his contract past this season in Oklahoma City, was dealt to Houston just prior to the regular season and led the Rockets to the postseason for the first time in four years. Moving out of the sixth man role that he excelled in with the Thunder, Harden proved himself to be an All-Star while ranking fifth in the NBA in scoring this season. '...
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