In Game 1, sans Joel Embiid, the 76ers were blown off the floor in the second half, giving up a huge lead to Miami that they were never able to recover from.
Right now, the finger of blame is pointed at James Harden, who somehow only poured in 4 points over the last 24 minutes of the game. What followed after was pretty rough.
Besides an assault from the fans, Harden also had to endure some criticism from Charles Barkley, who called him out on 'Inside the NBA.'
"I was disappointed because they had the game right there at halftime. They were up. And then he scored 4 points in the 2nd half, that's 100% aggression. I mean, he played a good first half, but for some reason he only scored 4 points in the second half. You've gotta get more than 4 shots. With Joel not out there, he should be shooting 25 times. I didn't think they were gonna win the game but it was a one-point game at half-time... he should have been super aggressive."
Harden was traded to Philly back in February, and it's been a struggle for him ever since. Even with Embiid at his side, No. 1 has struggled to find his groove offensively, shooting just 40% from the field through his first 21 games with the franchise.
The key for Harden could be aggressiveness. Both he and his co-star, Joel Embiid, have said how important it is for him to step up to his calling and carry the load as a scorer.
“[I just have to] be more aggressive,” Harden said. “I’ve been doing this — I’m comfortable and have been doing this for a long time. Just taking what the defense gives me and being aggressive, and making the right decision once I get to that point. More floor spacing and more attacks to the basket. We just have to play free — free and with the ultimate confidence as a group.”
However confident Harden is feeling, his play on the court hasn't been positive. His numbers are down across the board and his explosiveness doesn't seem to be there anymore.
Maybe in Game 2, we'll see a different side to James. For now, it's all Sixers fans can hope for against this talented and unforgiving Miami Heat squad.