February 6, 2023

76ers Fall to Houston in Harden’s Return

Tray Taormina/USA TODAY

James Harden returned to Houston, and the 76ers starting lineup turned out to be bittersweet. While it was sweet that Harden is back from his foot injury that kept him out about a month, it was hard to leave that game without a bitter feeling as the 76ers lost to the Houston Rockets 132-123 in double overtime.

Sadly, the good guys ran out of gas toward the end.

Another Big Game From Embiid

Joel Embiid was his normal, dominant self last night, putting up 39 points along with seven rebounds and three assists. While three assists is not a huge number, Embiid has clearly made it one of his priorities to become a better passer this season. The Rockets are a team full of young players and Embiid was able to use that to his advantage. He was dominant in the paint while also doing a great job of baiting them into fouling.

While there were a lot of positives with Embiid’s game last night, there were some negatives, as well. He fouled out of the game on a drive that eventually led to a game-tying free throw for the Rockets. Embiid also had a crucial turnover down the stretch. This game is definitely not on Embiid as he was the main reason they stayed alive, but one could argue he must be better when it matters most.

James Harden Returns to the Lineup

After missing about a month with a foot injury James Harden returned to the starting lineup Monday night against his former team.

Harden did not have a great first game back as he had 21 points and seven rebounds. While 21 points might not seem like it would indicate a rough game, Harden shot 21% from the field.

Sure, he is probably rusty, but that’s a horrible shooting percentage.

Harden also had a chance to which he got blocked. He then had another chance to win the game off an inbound pass that he missed. As the games go by, Harden will hopefully get back to the player he was at the beginning of the season, but last night was not his best game. The 76ers are 2-5 this season when both Harden and Embiid play.

Tobias Harris

Tobias Harris gets a lot of flak in the city of Philadelphia, and it is often deserved. But last night he was excellent. Harris finished with 27 points while tying a career-high with 7 three-point shots. Harris is in a tough spot with the current construction of the 76ers offense as he has never really been a great catch-and-shoot player, but to his credit, he has really worked on trying to be a better and more willing three-point shooter. Some of that work paid off last night.

Harris will return to the fourth scoring option once Maxey returns from injury, but hopefully, his recent three-point surge is a sign of good things to come; not just for him but for the entire Sixers team.

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