Thunder stars hope Olympics ease pain of losing NBA Finals to Heat

LAS VEGAS – Oklahoma City Thunder guard James Harden was still trying to get past the sting of losing in the NBA Finals when he arrived here for the start of Team USA's Olympic training camp. One of the first people he saw?

LeBron James, the man most responsible for the Thunder's misery.

"As soon as we get into Vegas at the hotel, Rudy Gay tells LeBron, 'Congratulations,' right in my face," Harden said. "I said, 'Really, right in my face?' "

James was the Finals' MVP as the Miami Heat beat the Thunder four straight games after losing the series' opener. In addition to Harden, Thunder stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook also are on Team USA, making Oklahoma City the first NBA team to have three players on the same Olympic roster.

Durant, Westbrook and Harden won't get over their Finals loss anytime soon. But an Olympic gold medal might ease some of that pain.

"I definitely think about it with all the chances we had to win it," Westbrook said. "Now, I got another task at hand, and I have to take it on. [The Finals loss] is still there, still there, but I can’t get over it until next year."

[Related: Kevin Durant adjusting to LeBron James as a teammate]

Durant went home to Washington, D.C., after the Finals to try to recover from the loss by spending time with family and friends. Every time he turned on a TV there was a Heat story to remind him of what just happened.

"I’m still a little upset about it," Durant said. "But what can I do now? I'm just going to keep working, and if it happens, it will happen for me. I'm looking forward to getting better every single year and we'll see."

Durant and Westbrook were locks to make Team USA's roster, but Harden had to sweat out the announcement. He, Gay, Blake Griffin, Andre Iguodala, Eric Gordon and rookie Anthony Davis were competing for the final three openings.

Gay and Gordon were members of the 2010 gold-medal world championships team while Harden wasn’t. USA Basketball officials, however, valued Harden's versatility, shooting and comfort level as a reserve.

"To be here with Russell and James is just phenomenal as Olympians," Durant said. "You only dream about stuff like this.

"You’re going through it with your closest friends. We’re all going to have fun and play our games. Hopefully, we will do well."

[Related: Carmelo Anthony talks about Team USA's chances of winning gold]

Durant is expected to start at one of the forward spots for Team USA during the Olympics, likely relegating Carmelo Anthony to a reserve role, sources said. Still, there has been some deliberation of possibly bringing Durant off the bench since he's so comfortable playing with Westbrook and Harden.

"At times, all three will be on the court with one another at the same time," Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "There is obviously that sense of familiarity in doing things on the highest level."

The trio's closeness was evident before a recent practice when Durant, Westbrook and Harden had their own shooting competition. Kevin Love was about to join, but thought better of it. "It's an OKC thing," he joked as he walked away.

"It’s my first Olympics, [Harden’s] first Olympics, Russ' [first]," Durant said. "We’re going to go through it together."

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