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Friday, July 19, 2024
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Harden’s No-Show in Big Games Should Worry Sixers

  • The 76ers mortgaged their future for a player with a poor track record in big games.
  • On Tuesday, he shot 3-of-17 from the field in a primetime matchup against Brooklyn.
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports/Design: John Regula

James Harden is notorious for choking in big games — and Thursday’s performance (3-17 FG) indicated that nothing has really changed. 

And despite the Sixers’ recent win streak since acquiring him, the 29-point blowout to the Nets suggests that Brooklyn might’ve won this trade.

It’s only one game, but it could be a troubling sign for a Sixers team that arguably mortgaged their future for a player with a poor track record in big games.

  • Harden is 9-12 in elimination games — averaging 24 PPG on 42.5% shooting and 32.5% from three (minus-17).
  • His minus-30 on Thursday was tied for a game-worst; by comparison, Seth Curry — part of the Harden trade — was a plus-26.
  • He finished 0-10 on two-point FGs, becoming just the second player after Russell Westbrook this season to do so inside the arc.

In June, Harden will opt into the final year of his deal ($47.3M). Two months later, he’ll likely sign a four-year, $223 million contract ($55.8M AAV) — and in 2026, he’d become the first $60 million player in NBA history.

Despite the embarrassing loss, he went out to “celebrate” with hip-hop artists Travis Scott and Lil Baby. The Nets were not fond of his preference for nightlife over the gym during his time in Brooklyn.

Last night’s rout justified Brooklyn’s status as third-favorites to win the Finals (+500*) — and the Sixers’ spot behind them (+650*).

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