Thunder out to prove its better without Harden

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Updated: 4/19/2013 5:39 pm Published: 4/19/2013 5:37 pm

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - The Oklahoma City Thunder has faced questions all season on whether it would be able to succeed after trading James Harden away during training camp.

Harden blossomed in Houston, becoming an All-Star and the NBA's fifth-leading scorer in his first opportunity to be a franchise's featured player. That only led to more doubts over whether Oklahoma City could possibly be better after cutting ties with one of the league's best young players.

The Thunder? It has posted a higher winning percentage than in any of its three seasons with Harden. Now, nearly six months after Harden's exit, comes the real test. Kevin Durant and Oklahoma City open the playoffs Sunday night against none other than Harden and the Rockets.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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