james harden he had just attempted a 3-pointer, taking a step back and while being fouled. Countless times he has made the same play during a career that has taken him to the All-Star Game ten times and earned him the 2018 Most Valuable Player award. Joel Embid, his new teammate, raised his arms and met Harden at midcourt for a hug. Finally, the characteristic four-point plays began to help philadelphia. And the Sixers enjoyed the first taste of GM Daryl Morey’s experiment in putting the two stars together. A new great duo for the NBA.
Harden had 27 points, 12 assists and eight rebounds in his debut with the 76ers, who overwhelmed the Minnesota Timberwolves 133-102 on Friday. “We’re not selfish. We just want to win,” Harden said. “We’ve got guys everywhere that feel the same way on the court. Big things are going to happen often. My job is to bring in and engage every individual with this team.”
Embiid added 34 points and 10 rebounds for Philadelphiawhich finally had its pair of stars. Harden had missed his first two games with the team that traded him out of Brooklyn. The reason had been a hamstring injury. But the wait was worth it.
The first showing of the Embiid-Harden duo was promising. Both particularly shone at the free throw line. Embiid, who made 21 free throws in a double-overtime loss to Minnesota in November, was 11-of-13 this time. Harden went 8-for-9 and the 76ers shot 30-for-36.
Harden in action. He had 27 points in his debut with Phila. (EFE)
“That’s what I was hoping for,” said Embiid, who couldn’t stop smiling during the news conference with Harden. “I’ve never been as wide open as I am today in my life. Really. The passes were like I didn’t expect them, and the plays came.”
Karl-Anthony Towns led Minnesota with 25 points, while D’Angelo Russell added 21. However, the Wolves couldn’t repeat their dramatic win in Philadelphia earlier in the season.
The rest of the results
Charlotte Hornets 125-Toronto Raptors 93
Oklahoma City Thunder 129-Indiana Pacers 125
Orlando Magic 119-Houston Rockets 111
San Antonio Spurs 157-Washington Wizards 153 (two extra)
Miami Heat 115-New York Knicks 100
New Orleans Pelicans 117-Phoenix Suns 102
Utah Jazz 114-Dallas Mavericks 109
Los Angeles Clippers 105-Los Angeles Lakers 102.
The positions in the NBA
1.- Miami Heat (39-21)
2.- Chicago Bulls (39-21)
3.- Philadelphia 76ers (36-23)
4.- Milwaukee Bucks (36-24)
5.- Cleveland Cavaliers (35-24)
6.- Boston Celtics (35-26)
7.- Toronto Raptors (32-26)
8.- Brooklyn Nets (31-29)
9.- Charlotte Hornets (30-31)
10.- Atlanta Hawks (28-31)
11.- Washington Wizards (27-32)
12.- New York Knicks (25-35)
13.- Indiana Pacers (20-41)
14.- Detroit Pistons (14-45)
15.- Orlando Magic (14-47)
1.- Phoenix Suns (49-11)
2.- Golden State Warriors (43-17)
3.- Memphis Grizzlies (41-20)
4.- Utah Jazz (37-22)
5.- Dallas Mavericks (35-25)
6.- Denver Nuggets (34-25)
7.- Minnesota Timberwolves (32-29)
8.- Los Angeles Clippers (31-31)
9.- Los Angeles Lakers (27-32)
10.- Portland Trail Blazers (25-35)
11.- San Antonio Spurs (24-36)
12.- New Orleans Pelicans (24-36)
13.- Sacramento Kings (22-39)
14.- Oklahoma City Thunder (19-41)
15.- Houston Rockets (15-44).
NEXT DAY (Saturday, February 26)
Detroit Pistons-Boston Celtics
Atlanta Hawks – Toronto Raptors
Cleveland Cavaliers-Washington Wizards
Miami Heat-San Antonio Spurs
Chicago Bulls-Memphis Grizzlies
Milwaukee Bucks-Brooklyn Nets
Denver Nuggets – Sacramento Kings.
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In his debut with the Sixers, Harden gave the Wolves hair and a beard