(Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)
There wasn’t a hotter player in the league coming into last night than James Harden. Harden is averaging 35 ppg and has scored at least 40 points in five of his last six games. So in comparison, the 37 points on 12-26 shooting can be considered a success. They played Harden about as tough as you can play him. They doubled him at every opportunity, and TJ and the newly signed Corey Brewer were in his chest all night making it difficult. The game eventually got so out of hand, Harden didn’t even play the 4th quarter.
The Rockets small lineup on the block was no match for Joel Embiid. Embiid ate Faried and Nene’s lunch down there en route to another 30 and 10 game. The Sixers put this beat down on the Rockets without Jimmy Butler in the lineup. Butler is a key cog, and it’s certainly better when he’s in the lineup. However, the Sixers go as Embiid goes, and when he is playing that dominant, they will beat the majority of teams in the league.
I will say what I have said time and time again: Joel Embiid needs to be in the MVP race. It’s been over a decade since the Sixers have had a player that can go toe to toe with any of the leagues best. It is the same feeling I had during the heyday of the Iverson years. The Sixers could beat any team in the league as long as Iverson was on the court. Now, I have the same feeling whenever Embiid is on the court.
The Sixers are off to a great start in this tough stretch. Realistically, they should have started it off 3-0 if it were not for Paul George’s heroics Saturday. The Sixers will once again have their hands full Wednesday against the Spurs. Win or lose, it’s just fun to have a good Sixers team back in Philly again.