Joel Embiid & James Harden Send Message to Sixers Ahead of Crucial Stretch

James Harden, Joel Embiid

Getty James Harden and Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers

Seven of the next eight games for the Philadelphia 76ers will be on the road, starting with their next game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on March 15. In light of this crucial stretch coming up for the Sixers, Joel Embiid and James Harden gave their thoughts on the matter while talking with Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer.

“We got to win those games,” Embiid said. “That’s a good test for the playoffs. You got to go out on the road and steal a couple. That’s our goal. Obviously, we’ve been good.

“We got a couple good tests coming up. So we just got to be ready and make sure everybody is on the same page.”

Harden vocalized his confidence for their upcoming road games, using their record on the road as proof.

“We’ve been pretty solid on the road all year long,” Harden said, “so [it’s] one game at a time, and no matter who we’re playing, stick to what we do and try to be the best 76ers we can be.”

Harden has good reason to be confident in the Sixets in this upcoming stretch since they have an away record of 19-12.

Joel Embiid Responds to Matisse Thybulle’s Comments

Before the Sixers played the Portland Trail Blazers on March 10, ex-Sixer Matisse Thybulle told Pompey before the game that “there was a lot more fear-based play in Philadelphia as opposed to what I’m doing here in Portland.”

Embiid responded first by admitting how much he enjoyed having Thybulle as a teammate, but clarified that he was not happy with what Thybulle had said about the Sixers.

“I loved him when he was here,” Embiid said, per Ky Carlin of Sixers Wire. “I kinda told him I kinda was not happy with some of the comments that was made lately, but it’s whatever.”

Embiid cut Thybulle some slack, saying that the expectations in Philadelphia can be hard to deal with.

“Playing in Philly is not easy,” he added. “It’s a lot of pressure that comes with it. Every year, you’re expected to win. It doesn’t even matter if they believe that you have a good team or a good enough team to win a championship. That’s the expectations and that’s why there’s not a lot of people that can play here and survive here.”

Joel Embiid’s Thoughts on MVP Race

After the Sixers beat the Minnesota Timberwolves on March 7, Embiid gave his thoughts on awards after being asked what it’s like to be covered by three-time Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert.

“It doesn’t necessarily motivate me, but it’s the same thing with every big in the league. It doesn’t matter who I play. I just feel like I’m going to do my thing regardless. I’m going to dominate. It’s no disrespect to any of them. MVP, Defensive Player of the Year, that doesn’t mean anything to me. I’m still going to be the best player on the floor,” Embiid said.

Embiid then made it clear what he cares about most when asked who he believes the frontrunner for Most Valuable Player is.

“I don’t know. That’s not for me to answer. I feel like, obviously, being in the running for the last few years has been whatever, and this year I’ve taken a different approach, trying to focus on the right things: win games, dominate, which I’ve been doing. Whatever happens, happens. Obviously, it would mean a lot to win one. That’s the best award anyone can get, but, like I said, I’m just focused on making sure on, first of all, staying healthy, winning games, and dominating.”