Friday, Dec. 7, at 8:30 p.m.

The Oklahoma City Thunder has played hard all season, and the holiday has afforded no break for the team everyone feared for only a few weeks ago. Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Thabo Sefolosha and the team head into a game Friday, Dec. 7, against Kobe Bryant and the L.A. Lakers with a lingering drama still in the air: Can the young team that everyone had such high hopes for seeing another run for the NBA Championship make it without James Harden? Now that the world knows the answer is most definitely “yes” from the first months of season’s play, can the sports world move past its resolve to mull over the team’s future? It’s a speculator’s game as much as any futures on the stock market, but we prefer to focus on the game at hand, and Friday’s will be the one to watch. The game starts at 8:30 p.m. and will broadcast from the Chesapeake Energy Arena on ESPN. Tickets are available at the arena box office, 100 W. Reno Ave., Oklahoma City, and online at Also in the week ahead, the team plays Indiana (Dec. 9) and New Orleans (Dec. 12) on the home court.

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