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James Harden might want to destroy film of Game 6 before his contract negotiations

By Bryan Kalbrosky

We don’t need to relitigate this. James Harden did play to the caliber that Philadelphia — or Brooklyn, for that matter — expected of him.

After the Sixers were eliminated from the postseason, Philly’s Joel Embiid said exactly that. Both teams expected the Harden from Houston, and what they got was something completely different.

Harden lacked considerable burst and explosiveness this season, and his ability to finish at the rim was comparably dreadful relative to years past. However, the red flags were even more concerning during the elimination game on Thursday night.

Harden finished the game with just 11 points (including none in the second half) and 4 turnovers. ESPN’s Tim Legler offered a breakdown of the poor possessions, and — oh boy — it’s nightmarish for Harden. The guard will have a contract negotiation coming up, and it’d be best if no one saw this:

Legler is an expert on the x’s and o’s, and he offered a brilliant analysis of exactly how and why Harden made mistakes with the ball in his hands down the stretch.

During the first possession clipped in the video, we saw Miami’s Bam Adebayo intercept an ill-advised pass by Harden. There were several issues with the play, but the biggest was a lack of speed and effort.

Adebayo is a big man who has guard-like skills, but the fact that Harden was unable to chase down a frontcourt player who was moving with the ball in his hands should raise some eyebrows. This also reflects poorly on the long-term overall trajectory of Harden’s athleticism.

The second possession that Legler showed is an equally rough watch. The former MVP is still regarded as a crafty playmaker, but his ballhandling was rough against the Heat. Without on-ball skills, there isn’t much to love about his game.

When it comes to Harden’s contract negotiations, if Legler saw these issues, folks in Philly’s front office did as well. That’s … really not good.

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Dive Deeper:
LAYUP LINES: Kyrie Irving may have lost himself a lot of money last season
Kyrie Irving's absences are piling up.
Joel Embiid: ‘Everybody expected the Houston James Harden, but that’s not who he is anymore’
Michael Scotto: Joel Embiid on James Harden: "Obviously, I'm sure since we got him, everybody expected the Houston James Harden,…
‘Not good enough’: Miami Heat scorch punchless Sixers to reach NBA’s last four
Jimmy Butler scored 32 points to send the Heat into the Eastern Conference finals with a 99-90 victory over the…
Greg Cote: Jimmy Butler and defense rise again as Heat eliminate 76ers, advance to Eastern finals
The Philadelphia 76ers were desperate and home Thursday night, must-win in the literal sense, the great James Harden in hero…
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Magic Johnson congratulated Nikola Jokic on his MVP trophy after the 76ers were eliminated from the playoffs and it was so petty
Did Magic Johnson do this on purpose?
Rockets GM Rafael Stone earns third-place NBA Executive of the Year votes
With Houston’s rebuilding plan showing signs of progress, Rockets general manager Rafael Stone picked up multiple third-place votes for NBA…
Get all your news in one place