Thursday May 26, 2022

Joel Embiid’s blunt analysis of James Harden after Game 6 loss: Not the same player from Houston

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Joel Embiid’s analysis of James Harden’s performance on Thursday night in the Philadelphia 76ers’ 99-90 loss to the Miami Heat raised eyebrows.

Harden played 42 minutes for Philadelphia. He was 4-of-9 with 11 points, nine assists and four rebounds in the 99-90 loss. He only took two shots in the second half – one each in the third and four quarters. For a superstar who was supposed to be the No. 2 option in scoring behind Embiid, he came up short.

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James Harden #1 of the Philadelphia 76ers reacts against the Miami Heat during Game Four of the 2022 NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference Semifinals at the Wells Fargo Center on May 8, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The 76ers defeated the Heat 116-108.

James Harden #1 of the Philadelphia 76ers reacts against the Miami Heat during Game Four of the 2022 NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference Semifinals at the Wells Fargo Center on May 8, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The 76ers defeated the Heat 116-108. (Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

Embiid made clear the Harden the 76ers got in the trade with the Brooklyn Nets at the deadline wasn’t the same type of player who was an MVP with the Houston Rockets.

“Obviously, since we got him, everybody expected the Houston James Harden, but that’s not who he is anymore. He’s more of a playmaker,” Embiid told reporters after the game. “I thought at times could’ve been, as all of us, could’ve been more aggressive.”

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Joel Embiid #21 and James Harden #1 of the Philadelphia 76ers during play against the Miami Heat in Game Six of the 2022 NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference Semifinals at Wells Fargo Center on May 12, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Joel Embiid #21 and James Harden #1 of the Philadelphia 76ers during play against the Miami Heat in Game Six of the 2022 NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference Semifinals at Wells Fargo Center on May 12, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

Embiid, with a fractured orbital bone and torn ligament in his right thumb, hit the deck multiple times during the game. Playing through the pain, his valiant effort to try to extend the series one more game wasn’t enough. He finished with 20 points and 12 rebounds.

Harden was asked about whether he plans on opting into another year with the 76ers. He has a $47.3 million option. The superstar guard plans on being back.

“I’ll be here. Whatever allows this team to continue to grow, get better and do the things necessary to compete at the highest level,” he said.

James Harden #1 and Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers look on against the Miami Heat on May 8, 2022 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

James Harden #1 and Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers look on against the Miami Heat on May 8, 2022 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images)

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The 76ers will have to wait once more to get back to the conference finals. The team hasn’t been there since 2001.

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