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OKC Thunder: James Harden says he won't be hesitant

James Harden promises he'll be as aggressive as ever in the aftermath of a concussion he suffered from Metta World Peace's elbow in Los Angeles.
by Berry Tramel Published: April 27, 2012

James Harden promises he won't be hesitant. Promises he won't be passive.

The last we saw of Harden on a basketball court, the Thunder guard was crumpled on the hardwood, the victim of Metta World Peace's vicious elbow in Los Angeles.

But Saturday night, Harden returns as the Thunder plays host to the Dallas Mavericks in the first round of the National Basketball Association playoffs.

The teams play at 8:30 p.m. at Chesapeake Energy Arena in a renewal of a rivalry that spiked with the Western Conference Finals last May. Dallas won that series and went on to capture the NBA championship.

But now the Thunder is favored, and Harden, averaging 16.8 points a game, is a major reason. That's why the concussion he suffered last Sunday was so precarious to the Thunder's title hopes.

“He means so much to us, means so much to the city,” said Thunder star Kevin Durant. “It's tough not to see him right next to me in the locker.”

But Harden practiced Friday and declared himself fit and ready to go against the Mavericks. Fit and ready to be aggressive.

“That's how I play,” Harden said. “Can't be nervous out there. Just go out there, get the ball, and attack, play hard. Can't worry about it, getting injured or anything.”

Of course, it's not like Harden was injured within the flow of the game. World Peace's elbow came when the players brushed against each other a couple of seconds after a World Peace dunk.

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by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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