James Harden ‘Exposed’ in 76ers’ Game 1 Loss to Jimmy Butler, Heat with Embiid Out | Bleacher Report

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While star center Joel Embiid sat out because of an orbital fracture and concussion, the Philadelphia 76ers needed James Harden to play like the former NBA MVP he is in Monday’s Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Miami Heat.

Unfortunately for Philadelphia, Harden didn’t come close to his prime form as he put forth a lackluster performance in a 106-92 loss at FTX Arena. Harden scored 16 points on 5-of-13 shooting with nine rebounds, five assists and five turnovers. It had already been expected that the Sixers would face an uphill battle against the top-seeded Heat, but Philadelphia has no chance in the series if Harden continues to play like this.

Naturally, fans on social media called out Harden for his quiet night.

Jared Wade @Jared_Wade

James Harden getting exposed as a fraud on national TV? Well, I never

As Harden struggled, his Sixers teammates weren’t that much better. Tobias Harris scored 27 points and Tyrese Maxey added 19, but they were the only bright spots. Philadelphia shot just 6-of-34 (17.6 percent) from three-point range against a staunch Miami defense.

But despite impressively locking up the Sixers, the Heat shot just 43.5 percent from the field and 25.0 percent from beyond the arc. Some fans were disappointed that Philadelphia wasted a chance to steal a road win thanks to its own subpar shooting.

The Sixers are optimistic that Embiid could return as soon as Game 3 or 4 when the series heads back to Philadelphia, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

The team has to hold on to that hope because it cannot depend on Harden to lead the way to victory. Regardless of his history of postseason woes, Harden has not displayed the dominance we’ve grown accustomed to seeing from him at all this season and he can no longer be counted on as a consistent option.

On the other side, Jimmy Butler (15 points and nine rebounds), Tyler Herro (25 points and seven assists) and Bam Adebayo (24 points and 12 rebounds) led the way for the Heat.

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