76ers blow out Timberwolves 133-102 in James Harden’s debut
I’m honestly not sure you could imagine a better debut for the James Harden-Philadelphia 76ers era. Last night was the best possible outcome, as the Sixers destroyed the Minnesota Timberwolves 133-102.
Coach said it best…
James Harden took control of the 76ers’ offense and finally gave Joel Embiid and company the playmaker they have been desperately searching for over the last decade plus. I am fully willing to admit that I had no idea that James Harden was that good of a passer. He was incredible and there’s really no other way to describe what happened last night.
Harden got things going with an and-one layup early in the first and never looked back, scoring 27 points on 7/12 shooting. It was unbelievable to watch step-back three-pointers become a part of the 76ers’ offense. Alongside his scoring efforts, Harden’s playmaking ability found guys like Maxey and Embiid consistently wide-open, dishing out 12 assists on the night.
Another interesting note, The Beard outscored Minnesota by 35 points when he was on the court, his best scoring margin in a game since November 2019.
And they tried to tell us we weren’t getting Houston Harden?
One of the best things about Joel Embiid is that even on an “off-night” he still is one of the best players in the NBA. Sure, he got off to a slow start but was able to get to the line early and often.
Oh, and for the Twitter nerds, lets be clear about something. Embiid gets to the line so many times a game because he’s unstoppable. Points are points. I’m so sick of hearing that narrative. Enough already.
Embiid had a team-high 34 points while managing to hold Karl-Anthony Towns to 42% from the floor.
Maxey will surely end up as the biggest benefactor of the trade deadline deal. Harden was able to find Maxey wide open consistently, and it was something he was surely not used to. Alongside Harden and Embiid’s dominant efforts, Maxey was able to drop 28 points and plucked away four steals on defense.
Free Throws Galore
Last night was an analytics wet dream, with the 76ers’ top-two stars shooting a combined 22 free throws on the night. What’s even more concerning is this was a quiet night from a foul’s perspective. There could very well be some games down the line where the two combine for nearly 40 FTs.
The NBA world was put on notice last night, and any concerns of Harden being too old or out of shape were just thrown right out the window.
Philadelphia will head to the Big Apple to face the New York Knicks on Sunday.
Mandatory Credit: Getty Images