Thunder notebook: Signs greet James Harden for his return

By John Rohde Published: November 28, 2012

On Oct. 27, four days before its season opener, the Thunder traded James Harden, Daequan Cook, Cole Aldrich and Lazar Hayward to the Houston Rockets in exchange for Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb, two conditional first-round picks and a second-round pick.

Wednesday night was the first meeting between the teams since the trade and the Rockets' only regular-season visit to Chesapeake Energy Arena this season.

Tidbits from the Thunder's 120-98 victory:

*Welcome signs for Harden included:

“Don't Fear The Beard.”

“Spear The Beard.”

“Fear The Greed, Not The Beard (accompanied with an $80-million bill).”

“No. 13: Your greed cost us No. 11 Hayward, No. 14 Cook and No. 45 Cole.”

A T-shirt reading “WE ARE NEVER EVER EVER GETTING BACK TOGETHER.”

*Harden shot 3 for 16 from the field and had six shots blocked. The Thunder took turns doing it. Blocks came from Russell Westbrook, Serge Ibaka, Hasheem Thabeet, Kendrick Perkins, Kevin Durant and Ibaka again.

*Cook started in place of injured forward Chandler Parsons (shoulder) and finished with 18 points, seven rebounds, four assists, one steal and one block. He also played 38:09, believed to be his longest stint since 2008.

“It felt good,” Cook said of being in OKC. “It felt like home. It is my second home and it was very comfortable out there playing.”

*Aldrich is nursing an ankle injury and was inactive, but was on the bench in street clothes and visited with several former teammates on the court 20-30 minutes after the game.

*Martin had 17 points and converted 3 of 7 from 3-point range. He also had three assists and one steal.

*Lamb played 2:34 and swished two 3-pointers directly in front of the team that traded him before he ever played a regular-season game. Yes, Lamb smiled.

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