Perhaps the one largest shot of the Philadelphia 76ers’ 133-130 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday evening got here on a busted play.
With below 1:30 to play within the fourth and the Sixers, who had trailed by as many as 18 late within the third quarter, down by 4, James Harden misplaced management of the ball and needed to scamper again to half-court to retrieve it. Against a dwindling shot clock, Harden pulled the set off on a 30-footer. Splash.
On Philly’s ensuing possession, Harden discovered Joel Embiid for the go-ahead 3-pointer. The Sixers by no means trailed once more in ending Milwaukee’s 16-game win streak in what in all probability goes down because the single-most spectacular win of the Harden-Embiid period.
Obviously Embiid’s shot was big. It was, ultimately, the game-winner. But I’d submit Harden’s shot because the game-saver. If that shot does not go down and Milwaukee controls the board with a four-point lead and time set to tick below a minute, Philly’s prospects for successful would’ve develop into fairly bleak.
But the shot did go down, which was becoming. If you have not seen, Harden, by share, is having the most effective 3-point taking pictures season of his profession at higher than 41 p.c on virtually eight makes an attempt per recreation.
He’s by no means even come near that mark. The finest he ever shot as a Rocket was 37 p.c, although he clearly was a extra voluminous gunner in his Houston heydays.
Over six video games for the reason that All-Star break, Harden is 25 for 50 from deep. Since Feb. 1, he is connecting at a 45-percent clip as his All-Star snub seems to be more and more worse.
Harden was good on this recreation, significantly within the fourth quarter, the place he registered 17 of his 38 factors, two of his 5 3-pointers and 4 of his 10 assists.
This is simply the fifth time this season that Harden has crested the 30-point mark. He’s not the scorer that he as soon as was, partially as a result of the Sixers, rightfully, prioritize Embiid, who ranks because the league’s second-leading scorer whereas Harden leads the league in assists.
But Harden unleashed his classic aggression on Saturday, moving into the paint and to the rim on a number of essential possessions for finishes and fouls. The Sixers spammed a double-drag display screen to present Harden the area he wanted towards the dogged protection of Jrue Holiday, and when he bought it, he attacked decisively.
“It’s two down/thumb-up is what we name it,” Doc Rivers stated of the double-screen motion. “The first decide is admittedly simply to get Holiday to open his physique somewhat bit. The second decide is the decide that did the injury and allowed James to go [downhill]. That was a great motion for us.”
“That’s what I do,” Harden stated. “I’m very snug in these conditions. Whether it is playmaking or scoring, I’ve been doing it for a very long time.”
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