Joel Embiid wants more from James Harden, and the Sixers are suddenly in danger of a historic collapse

After increasing 3-0 in their first-round series versus the Toronto Raptors, the Philadelphia 76ers have actually lost 2 straight and all of a sudden discover themselves in a quite stressful position. Joel Embiid has a ripped thumb ligament that will need surgical treatment in the offseason. Game 6 is at Toronto. If it returns to Philadelphia for Game 7, which seems like a quite good bet, the Sixers will be playing under the included pressure of attempting to prevent ending up being the first string in NBA history to lose a playoff series after leading 3-0. 

This might get extremely awful, extremely rapidly. 

You can currently notice some unraveling in Embiid’s postgame remarks after Philly’s 103-88 loss on Monday, when the Sixers’ MVP prospect took a quite clear chance at James Harden, who continues to appear like a substantially decreased variation of his previous self as he’s ended up being a progressively reluctant shooter/scorer throughout his time with the Sixers and throughout this series. 

“That’s not really my job” and “that’s probably on coach to talk to him” aren’t precisely subtle remarks. It isn’t simply that Harden is just balancing 18 points on 37-percent shooting in this series, consisting of 31 percent from 3 over the previous 4 video games, it’s that, once again, he isn’t being aggressive to rating, in big part due to the fact that he can’t regularly beat protectors off the dribble. Even when he does get some form of a downhill benefit, he has no lift at the rim and is more wanting to pass, which, to be reasonable, he can still do at an elite level. 

On Monday, as was explained in the questioning to Embiid, Harden just took 11 shots. Through 3 quarters, he had 9 points on 8 shots prior to knocking in a couple threes in the 4th quarter to wind up with 15. Harden is still handling to get a great deal of open shots for his colleagues, however I can guarantee you, 15 points on 4-of-11 shooting in what might’ve been a closeout video game is not the “star” that Daryl Morey believed he was getting when he lastly let loose of Ben Simmons. 

The indications existed in Brooklyn, however the Nets had no spacing and maybe Morey let himself think that Harden still wasn’t totally healthy. Maybe he’s still not. Maybe this is the worst hamstring injury in human history. But the proof is beginning to accumulate that Harden just cannot be relied on to be a super star, and even an All-Star, every night moving on. 

These days, Harden’s scoring is mostly depending on whether his step-back threes are going, and for all his volume, he’s never ever been an elite marksmen in regards to portion. He made simply 32 percent of his threes with the Sixers this season, and once again, after a 4 for 7 night in Game 1, he’s gone 7 for his previous 22 from deep in this series. 

Maybe the Sixers and Harden will determine these current battles behind them and take out a roadway triumph in Game 6, however if you have actually been viewing this series at all, you understand that’s far from anything that even looks like a midway sure thing. Chance are quite darn excellent that this series is headed for a Game 7, and hoo young boy, is that going to be a pressure cooker. 

If the Sixers blow this series, will they re-sign Harden to a max agreement this summer season? Could they potentially validate that, even understanding they would have quit Simmons and Seth Curry for essentially absolutely nothing if they let Harden walk? Will Daryl Morey or Doc Rivers still even work? I dislike to decrease this roadway, however it’s quite difficult to prevent at this moment. 

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