The Sixers’ James Harden pulls out of the way and trusts Joel Embiid with the clutch

‘That’s why he’s the best’: Harden pulls out of the way, trusts Embiid with the clutch appeared in the original NBC Sports Philadelphia

to Joel EmbiidTeammates, getting the ball to their cornerstone big man and then getting out of the way was generally a good idea.

on friday night, SixExpress Head coach Doc Rivers was grateful for that James Harden Intuitively took this approach.

Harden’s instincts set Embiid on the game-winning frivolous jump game that completed Wild comeback to win over Trail Blazers At the Wells Fargo Center.

“Joel made a great shot,” Rivers said, “but James Harden made a great read because it would be a fake delivery to James… Joe was (either) going or giving it to James. But Joe caught it deeper than we thought he could catch, and cut James.”

“It was a great read. I tell you, there are 10 people who can see that instead of 99.9 percent of the league that would have come anyway, they brought their player in and jammed him. … He won’t get credit for it other than what I do, but it was a great read.” That is why there is room for Embiid.”

Harden remarked that he was “not robotic there” and described the play as “basketball common sense”.

“Just don’t run to the ball,” Harden said with a chuckle from his reading. “Give Joel the space he needs to make the shot. Most likely, if he gets a shot, you’ll be in. I just tried to give him space…and he made a shot and he made it.”

After a night of 39 points on 13-for-20 shooting, Embiid leads the NBA with 33.4 points per game. He scored 130.2 points per 100 shots, according to the cleaning the glassesand a 64.8 career best true shooting percentage. Much like Harden over his run to three consecutive titles from the 2017-18 to 19-20 seasons, anything like a 1-on-1 situation looks very favorable for Embiid.

Meanwhile, the 33-year-old Harden averaged 21.9 points and 10.8 assists.

“Something he works on every day,” Harden said of the Embiid winner. “That’s why he’s the best player in the league.”

As they fell to 12-12 on December 5 with a loss to the Rockets in double overtime, the Sixers’ winning percentage of 74.4 (32-11) is No. 1 in the NBA And their offensive rating (119.6) is No. 2 behind the Kings. It’s hard to believe that anyone during that span was decisively better than Embiid, the back-to-back MVP runner-up.

Embiid may have pared down a point about this year’s MVP run to an answer about the Sixers’ defense in the second half.

“I think a couple of times playing along our one-to-five stretch, we just switched everything up,” he said. “The game plan was really to win (Damien Lillard) the whole game, and they did us a great disservice with that. Once we started going from one to five… I think I’m a good defender – and defense is important. So I thought as a team, we did a good job.”

Embiid is indeed an elite defensive player. And though the Sixers’ defense often seemed amusing with holes – Portland scored 71 points in the first half, including 19 apiece. Anaferni Simmons And Jeremy Grant – They regularly reach a much higher level late in the games. In terms of defensive rating, the Sixers ranked 15th in the first quarter, 14th in the second, 20th in the third quarter, and 3rd in the last period, Per The team’s defensive rating in clutch is 93.2. This is tied for a two-time MVP debut Nikola Jokic‘s Nuggets.

All that aside, the Sixers opened March 5-1, and Embiid’s teammates rightly feel like they’re playing MVP.

“Joel is just Joel,” George Niang He said.

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