Joel Embiid, James Harden explain how they’ve made partnership work for Sixers
PHILADELPHIA–When the Philadelphia 76ers made the move at the 2022 deadline to acquire James Harden from the Brooklyn Nets, the idea was to have him team up with Joel Embiid and form one formidable duo in the league.
The Sixers teamed up the league’s best playmaker in Harden with the league’s best scorer in Embiid and they just let them go to work. The results have been encouraging as the two of them form an elite pick-and-roll duo in the league.
Their Game 4 win over the Boston Celtics highlighted how dangerous the two of them are on the floor. Harden had 42 points, nine assists, and eight rebounds while Embiid had 34 points and 13 rebounds as they were working in perfect harmony.
“The key for us is since we got him, I wouldn’t say I’ve allowed him, but I know who he is,” said Embiid. “I know how great of a player he is. I know how great of a playmaker he is so I don’t post up as much as I used to and I think I’ve allowed him to just be himself and just have the ball all the time for him to just make the game easy for himself and for everybody else.”
A lot of times when a team has two star players such as Embiid and Harden, the offense can devolve into a “your turn, my turn” type of situation. That is when the offense can get stagnant and things can turn ugly out on the floor.
Instead, the two of them have been able to make it work together while also including their teammates and making it all flow.
“That’s one of the things in Game 2 and the last game (Game 3) that we kinda got away from,” said Harden. “The ball is gonna find the open guy when you space the floor. When you do the things that we need to do, it’ll find an open shot. Not only just me and Joel, but just everybody who’s open.”
That is the key for Embiid and Harden. When the ball is moving as it was in Game 4, then the Sixers can be an elite offensive team and lead the way out on the floor. Philadelphia will turn to their two superstars to get the job done in this series.
“Once we get that, which tonight (Sunday) we did that at a high level consistently, then that’s just great offense for us,” Harden added. “We gotta be ready to do that Game 5.”
The Celtics have to shade so many defenders and so much attention toward Embiid and Harden that the Sixers know they can get a great look out of the two-man game between them.
“I just know every single opportunity our pick-and-roll can generate a good shot every single time if we really want to,” Embiid stated. “That’s the next step.”
Joel Embiid, Sixers single out PJ Tucker for difference made for Sixers
NBA Twitter reacts to James Harden, Sixers beating Celtics in Game 4
Sixers' James Harden discusses having Michigan State victim at Game 4