The Houston Rockets star player recently signed with the 76ers, a deal which will net him about $228 million over five years. The move raised many eyebrows in the NBA world as James Harden is not known for his defense and has never been considered to be an elite scorer like other players on that team. Critics are saying this was the wrong move by Philadelphia and it might do more harm than good for them going forward.,

The 76ers just received a harsh dose of reality concerning James Harden. The 76ers were recently eliminated from the playoffs by the Houston Rockets, and lost their chance at getting an NBA Championship. Read more in detail here: who does james harden play for.

Since James Harden made his much anticipated debut following the All-Star break, the Philadelphia 76ers haven’t had anything to complain about. With Harden on the floor, the 76ers have won four consecutive games, scoring at least 123 points in each of them.

Saturday night, though, was a different story.

The 76ers scored only 82 points in a blowout defeat to the Miami Heat with Harden out due to a hamstring injury, and they got a tough dose of reality in the process.

In a rout by the Heat, the 76ers seem powerless. OM

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On Saturday night, the NBA schedule planners didn’t give the 76ers much of a chance against the Heat. After a hard-fought triumph against the Cleveland Cavaliers in Philly on Friday, the squad had to travel straight to Miami to face the Eastern Conference’s top seed.

Harden was also held out of the game to rest his injured hamstring, so the Sixers would have had to put out a monumental effort to pull off the shock. We saw the polar opposite.

The Sixers were unable to sufficiently stretch the floor without Harden on the court, and the wide-open looks they had been receiving in the previous four games vanished. With double- and triple-teams encircling him all night, Joel Embiid struggled to find any offensive success.

After scoring at least 123 points in four consecutive games before the contest, Philadelphia only mustered 82 points in a 99-82 defeat to the Heat. On 41 tries, the club shot a dismal 34 percent from the field and 17 percent from three.

The Harden effect – or rather, the lack thereof in this instance.

The Sixers get a hard reality check on James Harden.

We’ve seen how scary the 76ers can be when both Harden and Embiid are on the floor, but now we’ve seen how lifeless they can be when they’re not at full power.

Because they can’t afford to double-team either player, defenses have struggled to slow down the Harden-Embiid tandem. The pick-and-roll movement is also getting so much attention that it’s leaving Tyrese Maxey and Tobias Harris wide open off the ball. Teams can focus on Embiid when Harden isn’t on the floor, making things much more difficult for the Sixers offense.

“Obviously, if all the emphasis is on me, it’s going to be different if he’s out there because you have to defend him a particular way, and it opens up a lot for whether it’s me,” Embiid said after the game to reporters. “He’s simply another man that attracts a lot of attention.” It simplifies the game.”

Despite Harden’s absence, Maxey said that the team’s performance against the Heat “had no excuses.”

“He hadn’t been with us for the whole year.” We’ve won games like this before, so no matter who’s on the floor, we just have to go out there and get the job done. Throughout the year, it has been our mantra.”

The health of Harden is critical to the 76ers’ championship ambitions.


James-Harden-1-1024x683 During a game against the Miami Heat, James Harden of the Philadelphia 76ers looks on | Mark Brown/Getty Images

When healthy, the 76ers are serious title candidates, but Saturday showed that if Harden isn’t on the floor, they may not make it through the first round. This year’s Eastern Conference is loaded with talent, so Philadelphia will have to be at its best to have a shot to reach the NBA Finals.

The severity of Harden’s persistent hamstring strain is unknown. He looked OK in his four starts with the Sixers after the All-Star break, so keeping him out of the lineup on Saturday was more of a precaution than a concerning development.

Whatever the situation may be, he must be fully functional by the time the playoffs arrive.

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