Joel Embiid and James Harden Called Out by Jacque Vaughn Ahead of Sixer-Nets Game 3

James Harden, Joel Embiid

Getty James Harden and Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers

While talking about James Harden, Brooklyn Nets head coach Jacque Vaughn sounded off on the chemistry Harden has developed with his Philadelphia 76ers co-star, Joel Embiid.

“He’s figured out how to play with Joel, and they’ve changed from the beginning,” Vaughn told Ky Carlin of Sixers Wire. “You see them play pick-and-roll. What that looks like, still has the ability to make shots which he did the other night versus us high level still playing at this time of the year.”

Vaughn praised Harden for his abilities as a playmaker, specifically how fast he can think when he has the ball.

“James is, you give him credit,” Vaughn said. “He’s a high-level, talented basketball player, and I think he sees things before they happen. You give him credit for that. He’s able to orchestrate on the fly. He knows where to put guys in order to take advantage of situations. He’s always had that knack.”

Vaughn coached Harden back when Harden played for the Nets during the time when Vaughn was an assistant coach for Brooklyn.

Jacque Vaughn Praises PJ Tucker

Before Game 3 between the Sixers and the Nets, Vaughn also praised PJ Tucker for doing what he does for the Sixers in every game.

“I’ve enjoyed watching him his entire career,” Vaughn told Carlin. “We had a series with him when he was with Milwaukee. You give guys like that credit where you see he feels like the ultimate teammate. He shows up, he does his work, he does his job every single night.”

Vaughn added that what Tucker does on the court does not show up in the box score, but he still helps the Sixers in his own way.

“Some things that don’t go on the stat sheet, those 50/50 balls, the physicality that he played with,” Vaughn said. “So we’ll have to match that, but you give him credit for doing his job every single night.”

Though Tucker was drafted in 2006, he only spent one year in the league with the Toronto Raptors before going overseas. Tucker came back to the NBA in 2012 with the Phoenix Suns and has carved out a niche in the league since then.

Doc Rivers Vocalizes Faith in James Harden

Though Harden has not had a great start in the series, head coach Doc Rivers vocalized his faith in Harden, believing the Sixers’ spacing to be the issue.

“Just continue to create space,” Rivers told Carlin. “We showed it on film, our spacing was terrible the entire first half. So even if James did get in the paint, two of our guys were standing. In basketball, you get to the paint, it’s OK if two defensive players are there, but two of your guys shouldn’t be there as well because that makes it easier for them to help.”

Rivers elaborated that the Sixers’ have to be better at spacing the floor in transition.

“I thought our spacing was really poor in transition, especially, and that’s where it has to be at its best,” said the coach. “We have to run wide. We have too many guards, too many threes, fours running down on the floor where they should be running out wide. We didn’t do that for whatever reason.”