James Harden Makes His 76ers Debut Against Minnesota

James Harden’s arrival has come with a lot of anticipation from the Philadelphia 76ers and his teammates. MVP candidate Joel Embiid seemed to be the most excited to be playing with a player of Harden’s caliber.

“I mean, it’s funny, you see all the stories that are out there, and all that stuff, and obviously we all see it,” Embiid said when asked playing Harden before a shooting per ESPN. “It’s completely different than what you see out there. He’s a great person, a great personality, always smiling, fun to be around. Everything, really.”

“His presence on the team and on the floor has really changed a lot since he got here. So I’m just excited for that to continue on the court, and I think that’s going to help us a lot.”

James Hardens 76ers debut went off seamlessly. The Beard led Philly to a 133-102 win over the Timberwolves.

Harden posted 27 points, 12 assists, and eight rebounds on 58 percent shooting in 35 minutes. This is the 6ers first game since the All-Star break concluded, and Harden’s first time back on the hardwood after a hamstring injury sidelined him for eight games, half of which came before the blockbuster tradeline deal between Philly and Brooklyn.

The opening quarter couldn’t have gone any better for Philly after the 76ers started the game on a 15-0 run.

During that run, Harden also got the first bucket of his 76ers career after razzling and dazzling his way to the rim off a baseline drive. The Beard not only showed that his burst is back, but he also highlighted his physical play shrugging off Anthony Edwards to complete the hoop and the harm for the three points.

Next to Embiid, the two featured weapons of the 76ers offense combined for 31 points, 10 rebounds, and seven assists in the first half. The two All-Stars also dominated at the free-throw line going 16/19 from the line. Harden himself scored 17 points, five dimes, and grabbed three assists.

Harden couldn’t escape the first half without hitting his signature side step-back three either, adding insult to injury after drawing a foul on Jared Vanderbilt.

With a 65-49 lead going into the half, the 76ers experiment with the former MVP seemed to have energized the team. The third quarter is when Philly created full separation, building a lead as large as 27 after a reverse layup from Embiid.

When it was all said, the 76ers ended the night not having to sweat the details after dominating the Timberwolves by as much as 35 points. Harden’s debut couldn’t have gone better as he finished the night with his first double-double as a 76er and ended the night with a +/- score of +35.

The 10-time All-Star and Embiid combined for 61 points. Tyrese Maxey was also a huge benefactor of the attention Harden draws, scoring 28 points and tallying four steals.

The next time the 76ers and Harden plays will be against the Knicks on Monday. Between now and Sunday, the good feelings will persist as Philly looks to be an even bigger threat to come out of the Eastern Conference and play in the Finals. At 36-23, the 76ers are third in the East.