James Harden stepped up to the plate when the Philadelphia 76ers took on the Brooklyn Nets in Game 1. Harden not only knocked down seven three-pointers but also dished out 13 assists in the Sixers’ Game 1 victory. Joel Embiid was impressed with Harden, but made a strong plea to his all-star teammate.
During his postgame, Embiid praised Harden for his playmaking abilities but urged him to continue being aggressive on offense in general.
“Like I said, he’s the best playmaker in the league by far,” Embiid said. “But we don’t want him — I certainly don’t want him — to fall in love with just that. We need him to be aggressive. He was today. Just attacking. By him attacking, he collapses the defense and creates open shots for everybody, or (Paul Reed), playing in the dunker for easy drop-off passes. The key is not just being a playmaker but being aggressive, going downhill, and creating for himself and everyone else.”
Though Harden was hitting his threes and making plays, he hit only one field goal out of eight attempts inside the arc, which will have to improve if the Sixers want to win the title.
Georges Niang Believes James Harden Deserves More Credit
After the Sixers’ practice on April 16, Georges Niang said that Harden does not get enough credit for how much winning means to him.
“I think James just doesn’t get enough credit for how much winning means to him,” Niang said, per Ky Carlin of Sixers Wire. “Obviously, he’s had a ton of personal accolades and since he’s been here, it’s just been solely bought in on what can I do to get this team over the hump and to win. From taking a pay cut to not scoring as much.”
Niang added how unselfish Harden has been making the transition from primarily a scorer to primarily a playmaker since coming to the Sixers.
“When you have a guy that went from having the scoring title to be like, ‘Okay, I can really pass and get everybody else involved to help the team’, when you have an unselfish guy do that and do whatever it takes to win, I think it’s no surprise that he’s tried to build that relationship with everybody because he knows that’s what’s gonna help get us over the top.”
Nicolas Claxton Praises James Harden
Nets center Nicolas Claxton praised Harden’s abilities to make his team better, especially at the age he is.
“He just makes everybody better,” Claxton said, per Carlin. “He hasn’t missed the playoffs since he’s been in the league, and it’s remarkable because he hasn’t always been on the talented teams and the way his game has aged. Leading the league in assists and still impacting the game the way that he is.”
Claxton, who played with Harden on the Nets from 2021 to 2022, explained the relationship the two of them have.
“He believed in me from day one before I really made any type of imprint in the league, and our relationship goes beyond basketball,” Claxton added “That’s always my brother and it’s good to see him doing well here.”