Heat explain how they have been able to contain Sixers star James Harden

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MIAMI — Through two games of this Eastern Conference semifinal series, the Miami Heat have done a petty good job of containing Philadelphia 76ers star James Harden. They have held him to 18 points and 39.3% shooting and 25% from deep.

The Heat have thrown a ton of defenders toward him such as P.J. Tucker, Victor Oladipo, and even Jimmy Butler has taken him on a bit. Of course, if the Sixers would have just made a few more open looks, then Miami wouldn’t be able to send as many defenders toward Harden, but that isn’t the case at the moment.

“We have done a great job keeping him off the line, first of all, and making every shot tough for him,” said Butler. “He is a superstar. He is going to make tough shots, but you can’t hang your head whenever he does. He has been putting the ball in the basket for a very, very long time now. Then they’ve got (Tyrese) Maxey who is doing it at an incredible level getting to the cup, making 3s, and getting to the free-throw line, so we have to be better on that and see if we can get two come Philadelphia.”

This is the second straight series that the Heat have had to defend a high-level scorer. They had to defend Trae Young in Round 1 and now they are taking on Harden in this series and they have held him in check as well.

“We’re just trying to make it tough on him,” said Oladipo. “He’s a great player, just like Trae. Like I said in the first series, the talent is only going to increase and get better, so we gotta bring our hard hat on the defensive end. That’s what we’re trying to do every night. Make it tough on him, make it tough on everyone, honestly, and just give him different looks. We know it’s only going to get tougher. We just got to keep honing in on that end of the floor and let that fuel us.”

Harden and the Sixers will have to figure out how to get into an offensive rhythm when they return home on Friday for Game 3. There is an outside chance that Joel Embiid can return which would give the Sixers a huge shot in the arm, but if he can’t, it will again be on Harden and the role players to start making plays on the offensive end of the floor.

This post originally appeared on Sixers Wire! Follow us on Facebook!

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