James Harden 'exposed' in 76ers' Game 1 loss to Jimmy Butler, Heat with Embiid out | Bleacher Report - New Style Motorsport

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While star center Joel Embiid sat out due to an orbital fracture and concussion, the Philadelphia 76ers needed James Harden to play like the former NBA MVP he is in Monday’s Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Miami Heat.

Unfortunately for Philadelphia, Harden was nowhere near his best as he put in a lackluster performance in a 106-92 loss at FTX Arena. Harden scored 16 points on 5-for-13 shooting with nine rebounds, five assists and five turnovers. The Sixers were already expected to face an uphill battle against the top-seeded Heat, but Philly doesn’t stand a chance in the series if Harden keeps playing like this.

Naturally, fans on social media called out Harden for his quiet night.

jared wade @Jared_Wade

James Harden exposed as a fraud on national TV? well i never

While Harden struggled, his Sixers teammates weren’t much better. Tobias Harris scored 27 points and Tyrese Maxey added 19, but they were the only bright spots. Philadelphia shot just 6-for-34 (17.6 percent) from 3-point range against a stout Miami defense.

But despite impressively securing the Sixers, the Heat shot just 43.5 percent from the field and 25.0 percent from beyond the arc. Some fans were disappointed that Philly blew an opportunity to steal an away win thanks to their own lackluster shooting.

The Sixers are optimistic that Embiid could return as early as Game 3 or 4 when the series returns to Philadelphia, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

The team has to hang on to that hope because they can’t depend on Harden to lead the way to victory. Regardless of his history of postseason struggles, Harden hasn’t shown the dominance we’ve grown accustomed to seeing from him this entire season, and he can no longer be counted on as a consistent leading option.

On the other hand, Jimmy Butler (15 points and nine rebounds), Tyler Herro (25 points and seven assists) and Bam Adebayo (24 points and 12 rebounds) led the way for the Heat.

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