James Harden put a resistance band around the top of his torso, and took off. He ran the length of the basketball court, and repeated the drill to increase strength and endurance.
Harden must have both these traits to lead the team through June, with the 76ers in championship mode.
Parade talk is overdue: Philly is in an uproar about Harden’s homecoming. Harden will play Wednesday night in Philadelphia for the Sixers against the New York Knicks. It has been almost three weeks since he was traded. There have been two road games and billboards welcoming him.
As with Harden’s beard, which is as iconic as his skilled scoring, the anticipation is growing.
The same goes for ticket prices.
The secondary market has cheap tickets starting at $100, and the Wells Fargo Center will certainly have a playoff vibe for what would otherwise have been a routine weeknight game without Harden.
Harden stated that “it’s going to turn in there”, and “and I’m prepared for it.”
Harden was the Sixer who left the court following Tuesday’s practice. He shared laughs with All Star center Joel Embiid, and jammed to music during shooting drills alongside assistant coach Sam Cassell.
“The city’s excited. Coach Doc Rivers stated, “We’re excited.”
It is a good idea.
Harden, the 2018 NBA MVP has performed as expected in his small sample. In his debut against Minnesota, he had 27 points and 12 assists, and eight rebounds. He followed that with 29 points and 16 assists against the Knicks. The most important number: 2-0. The most important issue: Philly is now free from the Ben Simmons scandal that has weighed on the franchise since the All-Stars were traded.
Rivers said, “This isn’t a forced-together group. Rivers stated that this is a team that wants to be together. Rivers said, “We get to be with each other and we want that to continue. That’s a great thing.
Tobias Harris’ performance dropped in those two games. He went 5 of 18, after having taken 20 shots in the 76ers last game without Harden. Harden’s arrival has been most beneficial to Tyrese Maxiey. Harden’s fastbreak points and Harden’s catch-and-shoot 3s against Knicks, which were both initiated by Harden, helped Maxey win 12 of 16 against Timberwolves. Embiid and Harden combined scored 176 points in their two first games together, which is the highest total for any trio of debuting players in the NBA since 1961.
Harris stated, “It’s fun.” Harris said, “We’re going to full arenas. Our group and our team are feeling the hype. It always brings joy. It’s a great thing!
Harden appears to be recovering from the left hamstring injury that kept him out of his final Brooklyn games and his first Philadelphia games (37-23, third Eastern Conference).
They might be the most punishing team in the NBA, Embiid and Harden, who are already MVP frontrunners. Harden joked that he was still “winging” it on offense and is now getting his teammates involved, while still being able to control the game enough to win. Harden’s arrival may mean that the real-time game-time will slow down. Embiid is first in the NBA for average free-throw attempts, while Harden is third. Embiid had a record-breaking 23 free throws in the NBA against the Knicks, a season-high.
The 76ers can only wish that a parade full of free throws will help them plan a real one, for the first time since 1983.
They were still the No. They were the No. 1 seed in East last season, and their home court was not helpful. Maybe Harden will.
Embiid is a 29.8-point scorer and averages 11.1 rebounds per game. He believes the best times are ahead with Harden.
“What are you actually going to do?” Embiid stated that Embiid is a great passer and attracts a lot attention. “You have to make a choice. Are you going to stay with me or on him?