James Harden promises to be more aggressive for Sixers vs. Celtics
CAMDEN, N.J.–The Philadelphia 76ers are heading into the Eastern Conference semifinals dealing with yet another injury to Joel Embiid. The big fella is currently dealing with a sprained LCL in his right knee and the Sixers are looking to find ways to defeat the Boston Celtics without him.
One way is to hope that James Harden can turn back the clock and be that ruthless scorer he once was. Obviously, he has a different role in Philadelphia as more of a playmaker for this team, but with Embiid’s injury, Harden will have to be that go-to scorer for the Sixers.
“Be more aggressive for sure,” Harden said of his role now without Embiid. “Be more aggressive, we gotta generate points, so get to the basket, shoot my shot, just be more aggressive.”
Now Harden was able to get to his spots in Round 1 against the Brooklyn Nets, but he wasn’t able to finish his opportunities. He shot 24% on layups and just 26.5% on 2-pointers overall against the Nets. That will not cut it against the Celtics.
“Going from not really having the usage rate that I’m used to and then having one game to really turn it on and kinda be aggressive, get to the basket, get to the basket, it was different for me,” Harden admitted. “I think this week or however long we had prepared me for that so I’m ready for it.”
This week has been helpful for the Sixers to get some rest and get some work out on the floor. Harden and the rest of the team has been able to lock in and get ready for a grueling series with a rival opponent, but they will still likely have to battle without Embiid for at least a game or two.
“We was hoping it would give enough time to big fella to get back and be ready for Game 1, but a little adversity,” said Harden. “Just get ready to go out there and play well for Game 1. Get off to a really good start and just give them four quarters of just toughness on both ends of the ball.”
The future Hall of Famer understands that the Sixers are going to have to play a near-perfect game to win without Embiid. The Celtics offer up a lot of tough matchups for the Sixers to handle and a lot of offensive options.
“Offensively, attacking, generating really good shots, and defensively, making it difficult for everybody,” Harden finished. “We can’t just say Jayson Tatum and (Jaylen) Brown because they got some really good role players as well. It’s gonna have to be a really good game for us.”
Game 1 of this series is set for Monday at 7:30 p.m. EDT from TD Garden in Boston.
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