Joel Embiid thinks James Harden can repeat his Game 1 performance against the Boston Celtics if he just keeps trying and shooting.
Harden turned back the clock to score 45 points in the first game of the Eastern Conference semifinal and help the 76ers win against last year’s finalists.
However, he has produced two abysmal performances since. In Game 2, he was 2-for-14.
Harden’s Game 3 performance was equally as bad, and he hit only 3 from 14 attempts.
In short, over two playoff games, Harden was 5-for-28.
Not quite the shooting support Embiid and his teammates need.
Harden Should Impact Games in Other Ways
The regular season MVP had some words of encouragement for Harden, though.
Embiid, who returned in Game 2 of the series and scored 30 in Game 3, said Harden should “keep shooting” and “be aggressive,” and advised him not to get too high, but also not to get too low.
Embiid said some nights all shots would go in, even the toughest ones.
On other nights, though, you won’t make those same shots.
So, for him, it was all about “finding other ways to impact the game.”
However, it’s not only about James Harden trying. There’s something to be said about the Celtics making it hard for him.
Malcolm Brogdon said that they had a plan for the former Houston star and after watching him win Game 1 for the 76ers, they got as physical as they could with him.
The guard claimed the Celtics intentionally forced Harden into difficult shots and made him uncomfortable.
The 76ers Need to Play with More Force
Philadelphia coach Doc Rivers has said on many occasions that the 76ers need to be more physical.
After the 102-114 defeat in Game 3, Rivers felt there were a couple of times when they could attack but were indecisive.
The coach said they had talked about “getting into the paint with force, with pace” but they didn’t do that.
Harden was guilty of some of those unsuccessful plays and was to blame for 5 of the 11 turnovers the 76ers had in the first half.
However, he didn’t think he made many wrong decisions.
The 33-year-old said he “got to watch the game” and that he was “pretty good on basketball instincts,” claiming he knew when to score and when he needed to pass.