Sure, James Harden hasn’t suited up for the Philadelphia 76ers since the blockbuster trade involving him and Ben Simmons, but it’s not like the 76ers suddenly started fielding a group of scrubs.
They did lose Andre Drummond and Seth Curry in the trade as well, but their starting five against the Boston Celtics comprised of Joel Embiid, Tobias Harris, Tyrese Maxey, Matisse Thybulle, and Danny Green. That’s not a bad lineup.
They sure as hell didn’t play very well, though. The Celtics came to town and laid waste to them in a 135-87 embarrassment that will be fresh in Embiid’s mind as the league enters the All-Star break.
Jaylen Brown led the Celtics in scoring with 29 points, eight rebounds and three assists on 10 of 17 shooting. Jayson Tatum had a similar output with 28 points, 12 rebounds and six assists while making 9 of 17 of his shots. Neither player played more than 30 minutes in Boston’s ninth-straight victory.
The NBA is a wild place and games like this happen sometimes, but considering that the Sixers are clearly in a win-now mode after trading for Harden, it’s very embarrassing. The game was out of reach so quickly that Joel Embiid only played 26 minutes, finishing with 19 points, nine rebounds and six assists. He only shot 3 of 9 from the field, and the bulk of his points came from making 13 out of 16 free throws.
If there was a play that summed up the Sixers’ night, this was it:
On the flip side, the good news for Philly fans is that they won’t have to wait much longer for Harden’s debut. It looks that he will be playing soon after the All-Star break.
After today’s stinker, that debut can’t come soon enough.