The Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets are set to take on one another in the Western Conference Finals; a matchup that promises to be filled with fireworks and, perhaps, chippiness.  One head-to-head tilt that will surely catch everyone’s attention is that of former MVP Kevin Durant and this season’s favorite for the same award in James Harden.

These two are, without question, among the biggest stars in the league today; and they also go a long way. Durant and Harden had their run as teammates for the Oklahoma City Thunder. Together with reigning MVP Russell Westbrook, they formed the most promising young trio in the NBA during that time.

Their partnership peaked in 2012 as they reached the NBA Finals, only to bow down against the red-hot Miami Heat. Unfortunately for Oklahoma City, the triumvirate never realized their full potential as Harden got shipped to the Rockets where he assumed a starring role.

Durant and Harden have had much success in recent years. Now, prior to their heavily-anticipated matchup, the two looked back on their formative years with the Thunder wherein a huge deal of their development is attributed to what happens behind closed doors during team practices.

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Via Connor Letourneau of the San Francisco Chronicle:

“We were always in there all hours of the night just hooping,” Durant recalled recently of those early years with the Oklahoma City Thunder. “It was just like a pure basketball feel.”

“I was trying to kill every opportunity I got,” Harden said. “They were doing the same thing. We were young at the time. We just loved to hoop. We still love to hoop. It was war on the practice court, but that’s what ultimately made us better and made us go out there and do it for each other.”

Many have dubbed this Warriors-Rockets series as the real NBA Finals owing to both teams’ incredible regular seasons and outstanding talent. However, none of them has a series victory over the other as their top-most priority this season. They’re out for all the marbles which could see Durant and Harden reminisce even more their grueling head-to-heads from years back and rekindle them in front of fans this time around.