WATCH: James Harden puts on offensive masterclass in Sixers season opener vs. Celtics
In the inaugural matchup of the 2022-23 NBA season, the Sixers found themselves in Boston taking on the Celtics in prime time. While they would go on to drop the game by a final score of 126-117, there was one glaring positive from the matchup.
Between taking a pay cut and posting countless workout videos, James Harden was a major topic of conversation this offseason. The former MVP worked overtime this summer to make sure he was 100% ready for his first full season in Philadelphia. If there was any notion that he’s lost a step, he changed some people’s minds with his play against the Celtics.
Harden played 37 minutes and put on an absolute masterclass. He posted a team-high 35 points to go along with eight rebounds and eight assists. The All-Star point guard also had an efficient night from the floor, converting 9 of his 14 shot attempts while going a perfect 12-for-12 from the free-throw line.
James Harden highlight reel vs. Celtics
There were multiple highlight plays from Harden’s performance in Boston, but one stands out above all. Right before halftime, he sent reigning DPOY and known flopper Marcus Smart into oblivion with a killer crossover. My sources tell me he is still sliding across the Garden floor as this is being written.
Harden connected on five of his nine attempts from beyond the arc, with one being of absurd difficulty. As time was running out on the shot clock, he managed to get a fadeaway to fall over an outstretched Jayson Tatum and Smart.
The Sixers may have had their struggles overall in Boston, but seeing Harden come out and perform at this level is a major positive to start the year.
Mandatory Credit: NBC Sports