Quick Takes: Sixers roll over Knicks, stay undefeated in the James Harden era
The honeymoon phase for James Harden continues as the Sixers notch their straight 4th straight win, defeating the Knicks 123-108.
Harden finished the game with 26 points on 8-13 shooting, nine rebounds, and nine assists in his home debut. In doing so, The Beard becomes the first player in NBA history with 25+ points and 9+ assists in each of his first three games with a new team.
Here are three quick takes following the Sixers victory over New York:
Sixers overcome slow start, still win by double digits
There was a lot of frustration to go around in the first half — evident by Embiid’s technical foul in the second quarter. The Sixers missed seven of their first nine shots and were down by as many as 13 before cutting the deficit to seven by halftime — thanks to Harden’s 13-point second quarter.
Embiid and Harden had some egregious turnovers but cleaned things up in the second half. Harden let Tyrese Maxey get going in the third, who had 11 points in the period en route to winning the quarter 38-19. Embiid and Maxey closed out the Knicks in the 4th to hand them their sixth straight loss.
Maxey continues to thrive in his natural scoring role since the addition of Harden, finishing with 25 points on 4-6 from three. Embiid ended his night with a modest 27 points, 12 rebounds and four assists.
RJ Barrett (30 points) and Julius Randle (24 points) tried their best to keep the Knicks in it but didn’t get much help from the rest of the supporting cast.
Tyrese Maxey clearly paying attention when James Harden is working at practice 👀👀👀 pic.twitter.com/O7YXpkgLtr— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) March 3, 2022
Tobias Harris is improving, albeit slowly
If the Sixers hope to reach the NBA Finals this season — or even the conference finals — they’re going to need consistent contributions from Tobias Harris. After combining for just 18 points over the first two games with Harden in the lineup, Harris finished with 14 points on 5-10 shooting, seven rebounds and two blocks.
He’s struggled to find his footing since the trade, but Harden is intelligent enough to get the most out of the players around him. If Harris starts pulling the trigger rather than second-guessing his decisions, the shots will start to fall.
James Harden with some sauce on the behind-the-back no look pass to Tobias who nails it! 👀 pic.twitter.com/yojHZvvMoK— Brodes Media (@BrodesMedia) March 3, 2022
Paul Millsap is COOKED like steak
I’m still not entirely sure why Doc Rivers think it’s beneficial to throw Millsap out there — the man can hardly jump four inches off the ground. I would prefer to see what Charles Bassey or Paul Reed could provide in the minutes that Embiid is catching his breath. At the very least, they can throw down a Harden lob or two.
Willie Cauley-Stein has spent most of his 10-day contract on the bench and it’s probably for the best. I doubt DeAndre Jordan will be a much better option when he eventually gets signed. If I had it my way, hook-shot God Robin Lopez would be in a Sixers jersey if Orlando ever decided to buy him out.
Alas, that ship has sailed. The Sixers’ will get a stronger test on Friday when they take on the Cavs in South Philly.
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Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher | USA TODAY Sports