After going up 3-0 of their first-spherical sequence in opposition to the Toronto Raptors, the Philadelphia 76ers possess misplaced two straight and all straight away secure themselves in a pretty nerve-wracking negate. Joel Embiid has a torn thumb ligament that will require surgery in the offseason. Sport 6 is at Toronto. If it gets again to Philadelphia for Sport 7, which looks like a pretty decent wager, the Sixers can be playing below the added power of making an try to place up remote from turning into the first group in NBA history to lose a playoff sequence after leading 3-0. 

This would also salvage very grotesque, very lickety-split. 

That you just must perchance maybe already sense some unraveling in Embiid’s postgame comments after Philly’s 103-88 loss on Monday, when the Sixers’ MVP candidate took a pretty certain shot at James Harden, who continues to ogle like a considerably diminished version of his weak self as he is turn out to be an increasingly hesitant shooter/scorer one day of his time with the Sixers and over the direction of this sequence. 

“That’s not in truth my job” and “that’s likely on coach to hunt the recommendation of with him” don’t appear to be exactly subtle remarks. It just will not be in truth correct that Harden is finest averaging 18 components on 37-percent taking pictures on this sequence, alongside with 31 percent from 3 over the previous four video games, or not it’s that, again, he just will not be being aggressive to ranking, in big part on myth of he can not constantly beat defenders off the dribble. Even when he does salvage some semblance of a downhill advantage, he has zero make a choice on the rim and is more having a witness to pass, which, to be beautiful, he can soundless build at an elite stage. 

On Monday, as became as soon as pointed out in the questioning to Embiid, Harden finest took 11 shots. Thru three quarters, he had nine components on eight shots sooner than knocking in a couple 3s in the fourth quarter to pause up with 15. Harden is soundless managing to salvage hundreds of launch shots for his teammates, however I will assure you, 15 components on 4-of-11 taking pictures in what could even’ve been a closeout sport just will not be the “superstar” that Daryl Morey thought he became as soon as getting when he sooner or later let out of Ben Simmons. 

The indicators had been there in Brooklyn, however the Nets had no spacing and perchance Morey let himself imagine that Harden soundless wasn’t completely wholesome. Likely he is soundless not. Likely here’s the worst hamstring damage in human history. Nonetheless the proof is starting to pile up that Harden simply can not be depended upon to be a megastar, or even an All-Well-known particular person, every evening shifting forward. 

At the contemporary time, Harden’s scoring is basically dependent on whether or not his step-again 3s are going, and for all his quantity, he is by no diagram been an elite marksmen when it comes to percentage. He made correct 32 percent of his 3s with the Sixers this season, and again, after a 4 for 7 evening in Sport 1, he is long previous 7 for his previous 22 from deep on this sequence. 

Likely the Sixers and Harden will determine these contemporary struggles tiring them and pull out a road victory in Sport 6, however while you possess been observing this sequence the least bit, you know that’s a long way from anything else that even resembles a halfway safe wager. Chance are beautiful darn factual that this sequence is headed for a Sport 7, and hoo boy, is that going to be a power cooker. 

If the Sixers blow this sequence, will they re-tag Harden to a max contract this summer? May well well they perchance interpret that, even vivid they’d possess given up Simmons and Seth Curry for in overall nothing in the event that they let Harden walk? Will Daryl Morey or Doc Rivers soundless even possess a job? I despise to head down this road, however it completely’s beautiful piquant to place up remote from at this point. 


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