Sixers’ James Harden Goes Off Against Wizards in Joel Embiid’s Absence – Explained!

No Embiid? No drawback for the Philadelphia 76ers. On Monday evening, Philadelphia paid a go to to the three-4 Washington Wizards seeking to lengthen their profitable streak to 3 video games. Washington’s roster is usually devoid of serious expertise exterior Bradley Beal and Kristaps Porzingis (all due respect to Kyle Kuzma and Rui Hachimura), however Philadelphia was additionally with out its celebrity Joel Embiid, who missed the sport with an sickness.

It’s occasions like this that require Embiid’s co-star James Harden to step up. And boy, did he ever. The former MVP erupted for 17 assists, which matched the mixed complete of all of Washington’s starters. The sturdy evening matches a profession-excessive for Harden, who has managed 17 assists 9 different occasions beforehand, most lately in March 2021 for the Brooklyn Nets.

Harden added 23 factors and 7 boards to his nightly complete, second solely to Tyrese Maxey’s 28 factors on the evening. With the sturdy evening, Harden joined elite firm in Sixers historical past.

James Harden Matches Wilt Chamberlain’s Career Record

Every era has its favourite Sixers participant of all time. The present era’s undisputed king is Joel Embiid. The one instantly earlier than is Allen Iverson. Then it’s Charles Barkley and Julius Erving in again-to-again generations. And lastly, we get to Wilt the Stilt.

Chamberlain is Sixers icon and for good purpose. He’s the one NBA participant to attain 100 factors in a sport. Multiple MVPs? Check. A transcendent NBA expertise that popularized the game and actually helped make the sport the worthwhile enterprise that it’s in the present day? Bingo.

Through his Sixers profession, Chamberlain was infamous for placing up massive numbers. One statline, 20/5/15, Chamberlain averaged six occasions over his tenure with Philadelphia. But via Harden’s brief stint in the pink, white, and blue, he’d already mustered that complete 5 occasions. And together with his sturdy displaying in opposition to the Wizards, Harden made it six, matching Chamberlain.

If the Sixers are going to be any good when Embiid is out, they’ll want their mercurial guard to step up in a serious method. Last season, Harden was criticized for not filling Embiid’s absence in opposition to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. But on Monday, he regarded to haven’t any drawback stepping up.

Of course, it helps that Philadelphia trotted out its most deadly lineup in Embiid’s absence.

76ers’ Best Lineup Doesn’t Feature Embiid

If you haven’t heard it but, right here you go: James Harden and Joel Embiid are deadly in the decide-and-roll. We’re speaking American Sniper, Seal Team Six ranges of lethality right here.

So naturally, it will make sense that lineups that includes Embiid and Harden could be probably the most lethal among the many Sixers’ rotation, proper? Not so quick.

Entering Monday’s contest in opposition to the Wizards, Philadelphia’s greatest lineup was small-ball, with PJ Tucker at heart. Those lineups blistered opponents to a plus-23.5 level differential, whereas solely coughing up 105.5 factors per sport. And in opposition to the Wizards, the Sixers as soon as once more went small, given Embiid’s absence. And regardless of lacking the league’s reigning scoring champ, Philadelphia nonetheless managed to attain 119 factors, their second-many of the younger season.

Does it imply the Sixers ought to bench their celebrity? No. Does it imply that the Sixers have rotation flexibility? Absolutely. And in this league, that flexibility is an actual boon.

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