Great things were expected from James Harden when he joined the Philadelphia 76ers, finally getting to the destination he wanted to when he left the Houston Rockets. Harden and Embiid were touted as possibly being the next Kobe and Shaq by some folks, but the way it has turned out could not be more different than that legendary example.
Harden has seemingly regressed since his time in Philly, and it has been pointed out by fans as well as media members alike. His numbers have dropped across the board, he looks slower than before, and despite an excellent closeout performance against the Toronto Raptors, his struggles in the playoffs have been painful to watch.
Joel Embiid is out to start initially against the Heat, and the hope for the Sixers was that Harden would step up as the primary star. Even Kendrick Perkins thought Game 1 would be a big night for James, although he did end up regretting that.
"I will give you this inside information. Tonight, I'm going to be tweeting about James Harden and the beautiful performance he's going to put on down in Miami. Also Doc Rivers, he's going to outcoach Erik Spoelstra and I can't wait to put it in their face."
Well, everyone knows what happened, the Miami Heat won comfortably, and James Harden managed just 16 points shooting 38% from the field and a terrible 28% from three-point range, with quite a poor second half. Perkins may have admitted his prediction was a bit wonky, but NBA Twitter wasn't going to let him forget it either, with many roasting Perk afterward.
"Perk banned for real after this take."
"We still waiting for that tweet big guy."
"What did Big Perk see from Harden that led him to believe this was going to happen."
"I can forgive the Harden take, but man, what he talking about with Doc outcoaching Spo? Perk's takes are invalid now."
"Yea Perk this didn’t age well at all."
"Bad take, carry the hell on."
"Big Perk is always off with this his predictions."
"You were wrong per usual."
"Y'all don't watch Miami Heat basketball enough if you think James Harden is going to win a game single handedly."
"Wrong after wrong after wrong."
"It's okay Perk, maybe you'll be right about something next time."
Harden is one of the premium offensive players in the NBA's history and it's quite sad to see him reduced to a shell of himself. If the Beard can get right in terms of health again, there's no reason why he can't have another big season, and if it's not in these playoffs, then surely Harden will be targeting next season to remind everyone what he can do.