Philadelphia 76ers have taken aim at a new underperforming Sixers star. With Ben Simmons safely in isolation, and avoiding the hometown jeers, Tobias Harris drew their ire on Monday night. Harris didn’t hold back either.
After hearing a steady stream of boos during a poor shooting night versus Houston, Harris buried a turnaround jumper and ran down the other end and appeared to mouth the words, “Don’t f****** clap! Don’t f****** clap!” The bucket gave the Sixers a 112-96 lead with 8:45 to go in the fourth quarter. The Philly rowdies were cheering loudly after that shot, although they had been serenading Harris with boos for most of the game.
Harris provoked the crowd in the first half when he waved his arms and asked for more as they booed. It was a constant back-and-forth all night between them. He finished with 14 points on 6-of-15 shooting from the field, including 0-for-3 from three-point land. Harris also grabbed six boards and dished out six assists along with a block. The Sixers beat the Rockets 133-113.
Their problem? Harris is on a max contract worth $180 million and the fans don’t see a max player on the court. He’s averaging 18.5 points, 7.7 rebounds, 3.8 assists per game while shooting 45.2% from the field.
Those stats don’t look bad on first glance, but put them in the perspective of a team that needs a floor spacer. And a guy who can jack up treys on a whim. Harris doesn’t appear to be that guy. And he hasn’t produced in that department: 29.6% from three-point land while not connecting on one since December 20. He’s gone 0-for-11 since going 3-for-3 in Boston. Meanwhile, the distance on his average jumper this year is 11.2 feet.
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Cut Harris Slack, He Had COVID-19
Harris tested positive for COVID-19 back on November 1 and sat out 10 days. He missed six games and the Sixers went 4-2 before he came back to witness a 115-109 loss to Toronto. Harris scored 19 points and grabbed seven rebounds while dishing out five dimes in 37 minutes.
It was a nice return for him at Wells Fargo Center where he was showered with cheers. The fans respected his commitment after surviving a tough battle with COVID-19. After the game, Harris detailed just how hard the virus hit him.
“You know, when I got back home that night it was rough, like fever body aches, you know the whole nine,” Harris said. “For me the first few days were very bad symptoms. I couldn’t really leave my bed for a few days and then from there started collecting negative tests. You get two days to come into the gym and shoot it now and then, and I was able to play today, and I wanted to go out there and give it a go.”
Joel Embiid Leads Sixers to 133-113 Win
All-Star center Joel Embiid picked up the slack in an impressive 133-113 win over Houston. Actually, the big man just did what he always does in another dominating, MVP-caliber performance.
Embiid notched his third career triple-double: 31 points, 15 rebounds, 10 assists. And two blocks for good measure. The 7-footer was unstoppable and even pulled out the old Euro-step on a nifty one-handed dunk.
Embiid was missing his two favorite role players in this one after Tyrese Maxey and Matisse Thybulle were both ruled out due to COVID-19. They joined head coach Doc Rivers in the protocols.
Assistant coach Dan Burke filled in for Rivers and threw out a starting five of Joel Embiid, Tobias Harris, Seth Curry, Furkan Korkmaz, and Danny Green. Korkmaz took over as Embiid’s wingman and scored 24 points. Harris added 14 points, with Curry dropping 15.