5. Harden returns to OKC
Harden returned to Oklahoma City for the first time since being traded on Nov. 29. The Thunder were determined to make sure his return home wasn’t going to go well. They smothered Harden on defense and held him to 3-for-16 shooting from the field. Harden was blocked seven times in the game and looked helpless all night.
4. Thunder win Game 1 of the NBA Finals
The Thunder lost the in the NBA Finals this past season but not before holding a commanding 1-0 series lead. Durant outplayed LeBron James in Game 1 of that series and scored 17 points in the fourth quarter as the younger, more athletic Thunder looked like they were going to possibly run away with the series. We don’t have to talk about Games 2-5.
3. Thunder are Western Conference Champs
After falling behind 2-0 to the Spurs on the road in the Western Conference Finals, everything changed and the Thunder went on to win the next four games. Durant couldn’t be stopped and the Thunder overwhelmed the Spurs with their youth and eagerness to win now. It was a huge growing up moment for OKC who looked like they were about to revisit the same demons that led to their demise the season before. This was the icing on the cake play.
2. Thunder trio wins gold
The Thunder became the first NBA team to ever send three of its players to play for Team USA in the Olympics this summer in London. Durant, Westbrook and Harden represented our country well on their way to a gold medal. Who knew it would be the last games the trio would play together?
1. The Harden trade
For everything that happened in 2012, nothing will trump staying up late on that Saturday night or waking up early on Sunday to find out that James Harden had been traded from the Oklahoma City Thunder. It wasn’t supposed to happen like that and it was a very hard pill to swallow for every Thunder fan. The Beard would be no more in OKC.