James Harden Shines In Third Straight 76ers Game, First At Home
After three straight stellar performances in a 76ers uniform—including one Wednesday finally, in the City of Brotherly Love—James Harden has declared Philadelphia home.
“Just exciting,” Harden—who finished with 26 points, nine rebounds, and nine assists in Philly’s 123-108 victory over the Knicks—said. “The love, the fans, it feels like home. Just the love, the support, man, from looking around, hearing, ‘We love you, James.’
“That right there makes me go out and play harder, and I just wanted to do whatever it takes to get the win.”
Philadelphia now sits two games back of the Miami Heat for the top spot in the Eastern Conference.
It was the first time Harden played in front of his new fans since the 76ers acquired him in a blockbuster trade with the Brooklyn Nets for Ben Simmons three weeks ago. His slow buildup from a hamstring injury caused him to miss the team’s February 15 home game.
“I mean, we all just fit together,” said Joel Embiid, who finished with 27 points, 12 rebounds, four assists, a steal, and two blocks. “You’ve got someone in James that comes in with his experience and his playmaking ability, scoring ability, and you add up what he adds and he’s been amazing, and what we have on the team. It all fits.”
Philadelphia will go as far as its new superstar tandem takes them.
The Harden acquisition was made with championships in mind: One, a first, for Harden, and one for the 76ers, who haven’t won one in nearly 40 years and haven’t sniffed the NBA Finals since 2001.
“Every game for us is gonna be tough,” Harden said. “We’re new, we’re fairly new, we’re still learning each other. Every game is going to be a learning experience for us, and we’ve got to just find ways to continue to chip away, continue to get better, win or lose. Obviously, it’s better when you win to figure it out, but it’s going to be great tests for us and we’re really looking forward to it.”
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