For the first time in a little less than a week, a Philadelphia sports team has lost a game.
The 76ers dropped the season opener 126-117 against the reigning Eastern Conference Champion Boston Celtics.
We all knew this magical winning streak the city was on was gonna end sometime, and unfortunately, it was the Sixers who ended it.
James Harden Looking Like His Old Self
While there weren’t too many positives to take away from tonight’s game, James Harden was certainly one of them. The Point Guard ended with 35 points, 8 rebounds, and 7 assists. Tonights showing from Harden was the most points he has scored in a Sixers uniform. Harden’s jumper was on point tonight as he shot 64% from the field. One of the things he had working tonight was his signature step-back three-point shot. When he had a mismatch on him he was able to take advantage, and knock the shot down.
There was tons of talk this offseason about how hard James had been working to get his body in shape. He had also been struggling with a hamstring injury over the last two seasons and we were told he was able to rehab this summer and get it right. If tonight is any indication of the Harden we will get this season, the 76ers will win a lot of games. It will be interesting to see how Harden’s hamstring and conditioning can hold up over an 82-game season, but after one game he looks like a different player than last year.
Joel Embiid struggles
If you just look at the box score you would think Joel had a good game. The big man had 26 points, 15 rebounds, and 5 assists. But the box score does not always tell the whole story. The Celtics showed why they were last year’s #1 ranked defensive team with how they defended Joel tonight. Every time he touched the ball he was swarmed by a double team. Last year Embiid improved vs double teams but tonight he struggled. He finished the game with 6 turnovers and he was a -13. It’s only game one so no need to worry about the big man. He will be just fine.
76ers defensive struggles
The biggest story after tonight’s game was the dominant performances of the Celtics’ two All Stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. They both finished with 35 points apiece while Tatum also hauled in 12 rebounds. The 76ers had no response for either player tonight. The Celtics as a team shot very well and In bunches where they would go on these big runs. The 76ers have a lot of new pieces and a lot of pieces who are known for being above-average defenders so it might take them a few games to get some chemistry on the defensive end.
The 76ers have another test Thursday night against the Milwaukee Bucks in their home opener. It will be great to see early in the year how they respond to a loss and how they stack up early against another premier team in the Eastern Conference.