Thunder chemistry issue has nothing to do with James Harden being in Houston

On Sunday night, the Thunder was out-hustled and outsmarted. The Atlanta Hawks craved the basketball and took care of it once they corralled it.
by Berry Tramel Published: November 4, 2012

Meanwhile, the Hawks got in the Thunder's grill enough that OKC committed 21 turnovers.

The Thunder was so sloppy, Perkins even brought up the turnovers as a problem. You know it's bad when Gran Torino is talking anything other than defense.

“We know there's a lot of work to be done,” Scotty Brooks said. “We still have to figure some things out.”

The Harden trade messed with the Thunder's chemistry, no doubt. Foreman Scotty still is mixing and matching, trying to figure out how to play his revamped second unit.

But maybe the trade messed with the Thunder psyche even more. Despite Perk's proclamation, maybe the Boomers have been like the rest of us. So focused on how Martin will replace Harden, they've forgotten what made them great in the first place.

The Thunder A team was no good Sunday night, even with Durant producing 22 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists, albeit with six turnovers. The starters played together for 181/2 minutes and were outscored 41-35. That doesn't have anything to do with James Harden.

Early returns show that Martin will be fine. Harden's first two Rocket games channeled Oscar Robertson, with 37 and 45 points and monster assists. But K-Mart now has 62 points in three games, on 53-percent shooting.

If Harden and K-Mart are going to play “Can You Top This?” all season, we're in for a wild ride. But the Harden/Martin debate was the least of the Thunder's problems Sunday night.

Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at

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