James Harden Impresses In Debut With 76ers

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The Philadelphia 76ers went on the road Friday night and beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 133-102 in James Harden’s debut with the team.

While the Sixers tied a season-high with 133 points, Harden’s 27 points were complemented by Joel Embiid’s 34 points and Tyrese Maxey’s 28 points to combine for 89 points in the win.

General manager Daryl Morey’s experiment seems to be off to a good start as the Sixers shot 42-for-82 from the field, 19-for-39 from 3-point range, and 30-for-36 from the foul line.

James Harden Impresses In Debut With 76ers
Matisse Thybulle (22), James Harden (1), Tyrese Maxey (0), and Joel Embiid (21) of the Philadelphia 76ers high five during a time out against the Minnesota Timberwolves in the third quarter at Target Center on February 25, 2022, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The 76ers defeated the Timberwolves 133-102. (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)

Philadelphia’s 19 3-pointers marked a new season-high, while Minnesota posted final shooting totals of 36-for-86 from the field, 9-for-39 from long range, and 21-for-25 from the charity stripe.

Harden posted a game-high, plus-35 rating over 35 minutes of action in his 76ers debut, the team said. Along with his 27 points — shooting 7-12 from field goal, 5-7 3-point range, 8-9 free-throw — he added eight rebounds and a game-high 12 assists in a double-double effort.

“We’re unselfish, we just want to win,” Harden said. “We’ve got guys, from top to bottom, that it feels that way on the court. Great things are going to happen more times than not. My job is to come in and add to each individual on this team.”

Harden missed his first two games with the 76ers following the trade from Brooklyn with a hamstring injury and was asked after the game why he thinks he maybe gets a reputation as a bad teammate.

“I don’t know why,” Harden said, per the New York Post. “That’s for the media. The media say that. I feel like I’m one of the best teammates that the NBA’s seen, on the court and off the court.”

“Just because the current situation happened, whatever happened, happened,” Harden said. “It doesn’t mean that I’m a bad teammate. Me, personally, I feel like I needed to do what’s best for my career, and help myself and be happy. It doesn’t harp on whether I’m a bad teammate or not.”

Embiid completed his own double-double by adding 10 rebounds to his 34 points in 31 minutes of action. He shot 10-for-18 from the floor, 3-for-5 from beyond the arc, and 11-for-13 from the free-throw line.

“That’s what I expected,” Embiid said on playing with Harden for the first time. “I’ve never been wide open like this in my life. Seriously, the passing, like I wasn’t even expecting it and it was just coming.”

The Sixers (36-23) play the New York Knicks (25-35) in their next two games, starting with the first at Madison Square Garden on Sunday at 1 p.m.

Follow Meg Turner on Twitter @Megnturner_ and Instagram @Megnturner

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Written by Megan Turner

Megan graduated from the University of Central Florida and writes and tweets about anything related to sports. She replies to comments she shouldn't reply to online and thinks the CFP Rankings are absolutely rigged. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

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