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Rockets vs. Thunder game thread: The next Beard explosion?

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James Harden is the only reason the Rockets have beaten the Thunder.

Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Tonight is a very possible Western Conference Playoff preview. The Rockets aren't far behind the sixth seed, and the Thunder look a near-lock for the No. 3 seed.

The Rockets can take the Thunder, because James Harden can take the Thunder. He averages 27.9 points, 6.2 rebounds and 5.5 assists against them in his career. When the Rockets were at their listless worst early in the season, the Beard dropped 37 points with 3 steals and 2 blocks. He was everywhere.

The Rockets can do basically what the Spurs just did to them: take a beating, dust it off, and beat a good team you have confidence against. They can continue the ascent they believe they are on. Or, as they have so many times this year, they can take another step backward, and fans take another one on the chin. We may have taken so many that it causes a stress reaction at this point.