Joel Embiid on James Harden: 'He Needs to Be Aggressive'

The 76ers have actually lost 2 directly in their first-round series with the Raptors however still hold a 3-2 lead entering into Game 6 on Thursday.

With Joel Embiid rather hindered by a torn thumb on his shooting hand, his previous MVP colleague, James Harden, had an opportunity to bring the Sixers to a Game 5 win to liquidate the series.

It looked that Harden had every objective to do so, scoring the very first 4 points and providing the Sixers their only lead of the day when he sank a midrange jumper 18 seconds into the video game and knocked house a fast-break dunk. Harden went 2-for-9 over the last 46 minutes, completing Game 6 with 15 points (4-11 shooting, 2-6 from three-point area), 7 helps versus 5 turnovers on 36 percent shooting from the field.

Freshly minted Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes led a stingy protective effort as he actioned in at point player while Fred VanVleet sat Game 5 out due to a stretched hip flexor. Against the Raptors’ athletic, prolonged defense headlined by Barnes, Philly shot simply 38 percent shooting from the field and shot 10-37 from cross country. Toronto likewise required the 76ers into 16 turnovers; the Raptors scored 20 points off those turnovers.

Postgame, Embiid put the onus on Harden and Coach Doc Rivers to develop a tactical plan where Harden can be more aggressive with the ball in his hands.

“I’ve been saying all season since he got here, he needs to be aggressive, and he needs to be himself,” Embiid stated. “That’s not really my job. That’s probably on Coach to talk to him and tell him to take more shots, especially if they’re going to guard me the way they’ve been guarding. But that’s really not my job.”

Embiid likewise took responsibility for the difficult loss to the Raptors as the Sixers dealt with installing pressure to liquidate their first-round match. Whoever wins the 76ers-Raptors series will handle the winner of the Heat-Hawks series in the 2nd round.

“But we all need to be better offensively. We missed a bunch of wide-open shots. At times, I just felt like we just invited; when I was getting doubled, we were not aggressive attacking the ball. We just kept moving the ball around the perimeter, and that gave them time to recover, and that’s why we’re not able to get anything out of it.”

“So if that’s what they want to keep doing, we’ve got to take advantage of it.”

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