The Houston Rockets have become strong championship contenders since the reunion of former Oklahoma City Thunder players James Harden and Russell Westbrook. During their time in OKC, Westbrook was just a young starter who almost won the Rookie of the Year award. Meanwhile, Harden was only a reliable substitute guard. Today, both are former MVPs, and they are playing like it. Westbrook scored 40 points, and Harden added another 28 to combine for 68 points in their 122-117 win against the Los Angeles Clippers Friday night.

Westbrook moved to the Houston Rockets this season after spending over a decade in Oklahoma City. After winning the MVP award in 2016, he posted 3 consecutive triple-double seasons since then.

Former MVP James Harden has been making waves in the NBA since he joined the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2009. With his masterful plays and signature beard, Harden went from being Sixth Man of the Year to league MVP and Scoring champion. He has playing for the Houston Rockets since 2012.

In their game against the Clippers as the newly formed dynamic duo, Harden and Westbrook combined to score more than half the team score. Harden also spread the glory around by posting 10 assists with four other teammates scoring double digits.

Meanwhile, Clippers duo Kawhi Leonard and Paul George didn't go down quietly. According to Dream Shake, the Clippers were way ahead 69-54 at halftime, until the Rockets crushed them in the third quarter. Leonard posted 25 points and pulled down nine rebounds. George added 34 points and also took nine rebounds. Another Clippers player, Montrezl Harrell, joined in on the fun by adding 19 points. However, it wasn't enough to win against the former OKC, now Houston, superstars.

In the 2017-2018 season, the Houston Rockets finished the regular season as number one seed. Historically, it was the best performance by the franchise ever recorded. Unfortunately, the Rockets were eliminated by the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference finals.

This year, with Golden State not likely to qualify for the playoffs, it's a chance for the former OKC players to bring home the bacon for Houston.

James Harden Houston Rockets
Houston's James Harden Reuters