76ers Need Game 6 Harden to Beat Heat

By Chip Bayless (click Howie for more Chip)




For the Sixers to have a chance of beating the Heat without Embiid, they’ll need James Harden to turn back the clock just a little… or at least back to Game 6

On Friday it was revealed Joel Embiid has an orbital fracture and a mild concussion. At the very least, this means Embiid will miss a significant chunk of the series, and possibly the whole thing.

While Embiid’s dominance in Game 6 against Toronto (most shameful disgusting fanbase in sports history after their crowd and announcer cheered for that elbow that broke Embiid’s face on a side note, but hey these are the same fans that cheered when KD couldn’t get up when he tore his Achilles) was huge for the 76ers’ overall dominance, James Harden’s performance was the key cog in the Sixers offensive juggernaut.

It’s no secret Harden has yet to put up one of his signature 40/50+ point games in Philly, but his play in Game 6 against the Raptors was impressive and critical for building the monumental lead the Sixers finished the contest with.

He illustrated his ability to nail his signature step-back smoothly rather than simply trying to draw the foul, unlike many of his recent performances.

Check out the play below where he makes the quick decision to pull up and uses his body to smartly gain separation rather than just leaning in with hopes of a foul:

In fact, he played so well that if you look at the stat sheet the Sixers may have even been able to win the game without Embiid, which is exactly what they’ll have to do in the upcoming series against the Heat.

So much more floor spacing for activities... click the pic to get yours!
So much more floor spacing for activities… click the pic to get yours!

Overall, Harden was more decisive, more aggressive, shot better, and did less foul-baiting which resulted in fewer turnovers. Plays like the clip below denote Harden’s improved confidence as a driver and scorer:

The completeness of his performance showed up nicely on the stat sheet too as Harden was top three on the team in points (22), rebounds (6), assists (15), +/- (38), field goal percentage (58%), and minutes (42).

His 15 assists led the team and it was those plays that led the Sixers to the win more than anything else; however, it is his scoring overall that will have to pick up for the 76ers to escape this series.

Plays like the video above don’t look that impressive on first glance, but consistent quick decision making like that has been more rare than one would expect out of a player like Harden since he arrived in Philly.

The good news is Doc seems like he’s on the same page, and anyone who watched Harden in Houston knows he’s got no problem putting up shots. Doc even said in a recent presser he’s planning to “play more of a James-dominant offense”.

The Sixers will need every ounce of Harden’s talent he can muster when they face the Heat Monday night (7:30) in Miami.

So much more floor spacing for activities…

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