The Brooklyn Nets played against the Philadelphia 76ers in one of the most anticipated regular-season games in recent memory. The game had added meaning because of the recent trade between the two teams that sent James Harden to Philly and Ben Simmons to the Nets.
The anticipation was high, and the game absolutely delivered entertaining moments. The Nets defeated the 76ers in a massive blowout, getting the better of one of the best duos in the NBA in Harden and Embiid, with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving putting on a great showcase against them.
Things looked bleak for the 76ers even at halftime. And Charles Barkley spoke about The Beard’s performance during halftime. He mentioned how Harden has had a history of underperforming in high-pressure situations. And given the magnitude of the game last night, Harden hadn't done anything to dismiss that reputation he has (0:22 onwards).
“Listen, he has a reputation for fading in big games. He has done nothing tonight to make us forget that… When you get that reputation, you have to figure out a way. It’s not fair to put Embiid and Harden up there together. Because Joel is doing everything he can. But James has been flat out awful.”
Harden did have a pretty poor performance against his former team, going just 3-17 from the field. In fact, his only 3 shots were three-pointers, and he missed the rest of his attempted shots. His teammate Joel Embiid had better numbers, scoring 27 points, but 15 of those points came solely from the free-throw line.
Harden spoke after the game, and noted that the loss could be a good thing for them, as it helps them assess where they need to improve, and also brings them back down to earth after getting carried away with all the hype. The Nets and 76ers are expected to be favorites in the Eastern Conference and could even meet in the playoffs. But if last night was a sign of things to come, Nets fans will be more excited than 76ers fans.