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Oklahoma City Thunder: Thunder will host Rockets in Game 1 of playoffs Sunday

Game 1 of the best-of-7 series between OKC and Houston will be played Sunday at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
BY JOHN ROHDE Published: April 17, 2013

James Harden once again will be performing at Chesapeake Energy Arena in the playoffs, but this time he'll be playing for the opposing team.

Led by the bearded, left-handed Harden, the Houston Rockets (45-37) finished as the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference and will face the No. 1-seeded and defending conference champion Thunder (60-22) in the opening round.

The Rockets failed to gain the No. 7 seed when it lost to the Los Angeles Lakers 99-95 in overtime on Wednesday night at Staples Center.

Game 1 of the best-of-7 series between OKC and Houston will be played Sunday at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Game 2 will be held at The Peake. Game times will be announced later.

Games 3 and 4 will be at Toyota Center in Houston. Games 5, 6 and 7, if necessary, will alternate sites.

Harden will return to the city where he spent his first three NBA seasons, capturing the hearts of Thunder fans with his stellar playmaking and facial hair.

Unable to agree on a contract extension with Harden, OKC traded last season's Sixth Man of the Year, plus reserves Cole Aldrich, Daequan Cook and Lazar Hayward to Houston in exchange for Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb, two first-round draft picks and a second-rounder.

The Thunder won its regular-season series 2-1 against the Rockets.

The first two meetings were OKC blowouts, with a 120-98 victory Nov. 28 at The Peake and a 124-94 route at Houston on Dec. 29.

The Rockets won the final meeting 122-119 on Feb. 20 in Houston when Harden scored a career-high 46, shooting 14 for 19 from the field and 7 for 8 from 3-point range. That same night, Kevin Durant had a season-low 16 points.


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