Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid made an honest admission following the team's playoff exit, stating that James Harden is not anymore the player he was a few years ago in Houston. Harden, who was named the NBA MVP a few years ago, seems to have lost a step as he is not anymore the threat that was torching defense on nightly basis.
On Thursday night in Philadelphia, the 76ers needed Harden to step up but that didn't happen as the Heat claimed 99-90 win to close out the series and progress into the Eastern Conference finals. Harden scored 11 points on a 4-of-9 shooting.
Harden didn't have a single basket in the second half. "Since we got him, everybody expected the Houston James Harden," Embiid said, per ESPN. "But that's not who he is anymore. He's more of a playmaker.
I thought, at times, he could have been, as all of us could have been, more aggressive. All of us whether it was Tyrese [Maxey] or Tobias [Harris] or guys coming off the bench. "And I'm not just talking about offensively.
I'm talking about, you know, as a whole offensively and defensively. I didn't think we were good defensively as a team. They took advantage of a lot of stuff that we tried to do defensively. And then offensively just really everybody being on the same page, obviously, only having probably what, three or four months to all work together and try to figure it out.
Maybe it wasn't a lot of time. ... I don't think we played our best basketball."
Embiid, Harden fail to get it done
The 76ers went all in on Harden when he was made available by the Brooklyn Nets. The 76ers gave up a lot of bring in Harden but the former NBA MVP disappointed this postseason.
After the 76ers' playoff exit, Embiid blamed the lack of toughness on the 76ers. 76ers forward Tobias Harris agreed with Embiid. "It's not simple to fix," Harris said. "But I think it just comes with the intent.
Every man to himself with the intent that you're coming into the game, with the energy that you come in with, I think that's a huge part of it. That's something that we've, I will say, throughout this year, we've shown in many games how great we can be and we've shown when things are good how mentally tough we are.
I think that you know, on the flip side of that, we didn't do a great job of that when things weren't going our way."