3 observations after Sixers’ comeback win in Harden’s house debut initially appeared on NBC Sports activities Philadelphia
It doubtless didn’t unfold how James Harden imagined, however the Sixers’ All-Star guard gained his house debut Wednesday night time, serving to his crew come again to beat the Knicks and enhance to 3-0 with him on the court docket.
He posted 26 factors, 9 rebounds and 9 assists in a 123-108 victory by the Sixers.
Joel Embiid had 27 factors and 12 rebounds. Tyrese Maxey scored 25 factors.
The Sixers will face the Cavaliers on Friday night time in Philadelphia. Listed below are observations on their win over New York:
Harden has to work for first house win
Harden and the Sixers narrowly missed a few potential instant crowd-pleasers.
The crew began 2 for 9 from the ground and Harden noticed a wing three-pointer and floater each rattle across the hoop and out. The floater try was an open one after a pleasant double drag motion with Tobias Harris and Embiid. Harden additionally dedicated a turnover making an attempt an audacious, full-court cross for Matisse Thybulle. Jericho Sims grabbed an offensive board and laid the ball in to place New York forward 18-9.
It didn’t take lengthy for Harden to flip the sport’s momentum, although. He transformed an and-one layup and a a step-back three. Thybulle then sized up a transition triple and canned it to tie the sport at 20-all, breaking a 1-for-16 stretch from lengthy vary.
Harden settled into a well-known groove and didn’t appear to have a lot hassle scoring 19 first-half factors.
There have been no questions on Harden’s intelligence, however he’s regarded robust bodily. His straight-line drives have been explosive, and he was decided Wednesday to play by means of contact and guarantee a house debut win.
Defensive issues in non-Embiid minutes
The sport critically soured for the Sixers when Embiid headed to the bench.
Harden couldn’t carry lineups with himself and three or 4 bench gamers to success, lacking two foul pictures and an end-of-quarter three-pointer, and the Sixers trailed 44-28 early within the second quarter after a simple dunk by RJ Barrett, who completed with 30 factors and 7 assists.
It will be troublesome to magnify how poor the Sixers’ protection was throughout that interval, each in transition and within the half court docket. No participant on the ground made a constructive defensive impression and the complete group regarded a few steps behind. Even with Furkan Korkmaz on the bench following one other unhealthy stint, the Knicks had been snug attacking any Sixer on the ground. Harden’s 5 steals and the Sixers managing to pressure frequent New York turnovers coated up a few of the crew’s defensive points Sunday in opposition to the Knicks, however stops look fairly troublesome to string collectively when Embiid and Thybulle are out.
One obtrusive weak spot was rim safety. Rivers caught with Paul Millsap as Embiid’s backup and the veteran supplied little significant deterrence to Knicks drivers. Defensive rebounding was additionally bothersome for the Sixers within the first half, though a lot of that was merely a byproduct of New York’s huge males beating out Embiid.
Rivers mentioned earlier than the sport he was not sure how the Sixers’ backup heart state of affairs would in the end shake out. He even talked about the thought of a committee method however famous that was not his choice. Regardless of Rivers indicating pregame that Willie Cauley-Stein would get an opportunity within the rotation quickly, the 28-year-old didn’t play till the ultimate minute and 15 seconds.
The Sixers outscored the Knicks by two factors in Millsap’s second-half minutes, which felt like an enormous win given the crew’s continued defensive shakiness. Maxey’s presence was large as he lifted the Sixers with an aggressive mindset and step-back three. Kentucky head coach John Calipari watched all of it from his courtside seat.
Embiid grinned after seeing Maxey make a troublesome three to increase the Sixers’ result in 112-99 within the fourth quarter. By way of three video games, the Sixers have a bona fide scoring trio.
Korkmaz didn’t seem within the second half till rubbish time. Maybe he’ll obtain one other probability at some stage, however eradicating him from the rotation was warranted and will definitely have occurred sooner.
Nonetheless essential to feed Embiid
Identical to on Sunday, Embiid drew two early fouls on Mitchell Robinson. However Embiid was pissed off all through the primary half.
He turned the ball over thrice earlier than halftime, disagreed with a number of whistles, and picked up a technical foul within the second quarter. Robinson even blocked an Embiid jumper, which is a uncommon sight. The sport after trying a career-high 27 free throws, Embiid went 11 for 13 from the foul line.
Harden stared down a wide-open three to start the third quarter however as a substitute opted to hit Embiid within the paint. The unselfish choice paid off as Embiid made a leaning, and-one layup. Embiid then drained a 3 assisted by Harden on the Sixers’ subsequent possession and the crew’s deficit was all of the sudden a single level.
Nobody would’ve minded Harden making an attempt that long-distance jumper, however it’s apparent he acknowledges the Sixers are at their finest when Embiid is totally targeted and assured. Harden is completely satisfied to bail everybody out with troublesome playmaking, however he’s on a crew that may doubtless thrive offensively if he prioritizes effectivity and feeding Embiid. To date, that’s going nice.
Tobias Harris picked up his third foul early within the third quarter after which skilled a tough offensive patch. Harden was irritated when Harris handed up an open three and dribbled into site visitors as a substitute, protecting his eyes on the veteran ahead and telling him “Come on” because the Sixers bought again on protection.
Harris’ manufacturing did enhance relative to the previous two video games, although, as he recorded 14 factors on 5-for-10 taking pictures, seven rebounds and two blocks.