For the last several years, Oklahoma City has based its attack on their "Big Three". Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Jeff Green were it for the Thunder, a trio the franchise would build around for seasons to come.
Green, of course, was traded in the package that brought Kendrick Perkins to Oklahoma City. Suddenly, the "Big Three" was reduced to the All-Star duo of Durant and Westbrook.
Enter sixth man James Harden. The second-year shooting guard has become a potent offensive force for the Thunder, even off the bench, lately. He's averaged 17.5 over the last eight games, including 18.6 since Green was traded. Green averaged 15.2 with Oklahoma City this season.
"James has been good," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. "When he's playing aggressive and takes the ball to the hole, he's hard to guard."
Harden echoed Brooks' comments. Being in attack mode has proven to be a recipe for success for the athletic guard out of Arizona State.
"These last few games I'm just trying to be aggressive," said Harden, who scored a season-high 26 in Sunday's win over Phoenix.
Harden and the Thunder take a three-game winning streak into Monday night's game at Memphis.
THUNDER 122, SUNS 118 (OT): Russell Westbrook scored 32 points and dished out 11 assists to lead Oklahoma City to its third straight win Sunday. James Harden tied his career high with 26 off the bench for the Thunder. Oklahoma City also dodged bullets from Suns guards Vince Carter and Steve Nash in the final seconds, and prevailed despite an off night from Kevin Durant.
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