MINNEAPOLIS — James Harden had simply hit a stepback 3-pointer whereas being fouled, a transfer seen numerous occasions from the 10-time All-Star and 2018 MVP. Joel Embiid, his new teammate, raised each arms and met up with Harden at midcourt for a hug.
Philadelphia preferred seeing Harden’s 3-and-ones lastly assist the 76ers, they usually loved the primary publicity of normal supervisor Daryl Morey’s experiment to place the 2 stars collectively.
Harden had 27 factors, 12 assists and eight rebounds in his 76ers debut, Joel Embiid added 34 factors and 10 rebounds and Philadelphia routed the Minnesota Timberwolves 133-102 on Friday night time.
“We’re unselfish, we simply need to win,” Harden mentioned. “We’ve acquired guys, from prime to backside, that it feels that means on the court docket. Nice issues are going to occur extra occasions than not. My job is to return in and add to every particular person on this staff.”
The wait proved price it after Harden missed his first two video games with the 76ers following the trade from Brooklyn with a hamstring harm. The outcomes have been promising, notably the place Embiid and Harden thrive — on the free-throw line.
Harden was requested after the sport why he possibly will get a fame as a nasty teammate.
“I don’t know why,” Harden mentioned. “That’s for the media. The media say that. I really feel like I’m among the best teammates that the NBA’s seen, on the court docket and off the court docket.”
A number of 76ers, together with coach Doc Rivers have talked about Harden’s excessive degree of communication since coming to Philadelphia. Harden downplayed the scenario concerning the commerce.
“Simply because the present scenario occurred, no matter occurred, occurred,” Harden mentioned. “It doesn’t imply that I’m a nasty teammate. Me, personally, I really feel like I wanted to do what’s finest for my profession, and assist myself and be joyful. It doesn’t harp on whether or not I’m a nasty teammate or not.”
Embiid, who had 21 free throws in a double-overtime loss to Minnesota in November, was 11 of 13 from the road. Harden was 8 of 9 because the 76ers went 30 of 36 total.
“That’s what I anticipated,” mentioned Embiid, smiling huge as the 2 shared a postgame press convention desk. “I’ve by no means been huge open like this in my life. Critically, the passing, like I wasn’t even anticipating it and it was simply coming.”
Karl-Anthony Cities led Minnesota with 25 factors, and D’Angelo Russell had 21. However the Timberwolves couldn’t replicate the dramatic win in Philadelphia earlier this season.
“The costliest factor tonight, and it won’t be on the stat sheet, was that we have been searching for shortcuts all night time lengthy,” Minnesota coach Chris Finch mentioned. “We come down, one move, attempt to make a house run play on offense. And greater than something it was our offense that permit us down, actually.”
The 76ers didn’t have Harden — or Ben Simmons, who was traded to Brooklyn together with Seth Curry, Andre Drummond and two first-round draft picks for Harden — in November.
Harden, the 2018 MVP, hadn’t performed since Feb. 2 because of the harm, delaying his pairing with Embiid. Philadelphia believes it lastly has the top-level duo, and a powerful third piece in Tobias Harris, to interrupt by way of within the Japanese Convention.
The 76ers have received 4 of 5.
In Philadelphia’s first sport following the All-Star break, Embiid managed the primary quarter from the road. He was 7-of-8 capturing on free throws and had 10 factors and 6 rebounds within the quarter.
The 76ers used a 15-0 run to take a 16-6 lead and by no means trailed once more.
Minnesota, coming off a 119-114 win over Memphis an evening earlier, acquired to 51-48 late within the second quarter. However Philadelphia closed the half on a 15-1 run after Mattisse Thybulle had a putback dunk proper earlier than the buzzer off a missed 3-pointer from Harris.
“I really feel the best way we misplaced tonight, I really feel like we took steps backwards,” Russell mentioned. “Tonight, we didn’t lose proper.”
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