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The Beard is right here: Philly hoopla for James Harden’s home debut


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James Harden wrapped a resistance band about his upper torso and took off. He sprinted the duration of the basketball court docket and recurring the drill created to establish strength and stamina.

With the 76ers in championship-or-bust mode, Harden requires each features if he would like to carry the staff into June.

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But parade converse can hold out: Philly is in a tizzy in excess of Harden’s impending property debut. Almost 3 weeks given that he was obtained in a trade, two road online games, billboards welcoming his arrival, and a spawning cottage field of “Beard” T-shirts afterwards, Harden will last but not least engage in in Philly for the Sixers on Wednesday night time from the New York Knicks.

Substantially like the beard that’s as synonymous with Harden as his skillful scoring, anticipation is rising.

So are ticket price ranges.

The affordable seats get started at $100 on the secondary marketplace and the Wells Fargo Centre will certainly have a playoff feel for what would have been an normally program weeknight sport with out Harden.

“It’s going to be turnt in there,” Harden claimed in excess of the weekend, “and I’m prepared for it.”

Harden was the past Sixer off the courtroom immediately after Tuesday’s apply, sharing laughs with All-Star centre Joel Embiid and jamming to songs for the duration of taking pictures drills with assistant mentor Sam Cassell.

“The city’s excited. We’re thrilled,” coach Doc Rivers explained.

With good rationale.

Philadelphia 76ers' James Harden practices at the NBA basketball team's facility, in Camden, N.J., Tuesday, March 1, 2022.

Philadelphia 76ers’ James Harden procedures at the NBA basketball team’s facility, in Camden, N.J., Tuesday, March 1, 2022.
(WHD Picture/Matt Rourke)

Harden, the 2018 NBA MVP, in his small sample dimension has amazed as predicted. He experienced 27 points, 12 helps and eight rebounds in his debut in opposition to Minnesota and adopted with 29 factors, 16 assists and 10 rebounds from the Knicks. The range that issues most: 2-. The challenge that issues most: Philly is totally free of the Ben Simmons saga that weighed on the franchise right until the All-Stars were being traded for each other.

“This is not a compelled-collectively team. This is a want-to-be-alongside one another crew,” Rivers said. “We get to be jointly and we want to be together. I consider that is a good issue.”

Tobias Harris’ output dipped in those people two games — he went 5 of 18 merged immediately after getting 20 pictures in the 76ers’ last game without having Harden. Tyrese Maxey, in the meantime, has benefited the most from Harden’s arrival. He went 12 of 16 against the Timberwolves many thanks in significant portion to fastbreak points instigated by Harden and catch-and-shoot 3s towards the Knicks off Harden kick-outs. Embiid, Harden and Maxey merged for 176 details in their initially two video games with each other, the most for any debuting trio in the NBA given that 1961.

“It is fun,” Harris explained. “We’re going into full arenas. The buzz is there for our team, our workforce. That always brings enjoyment to it. What’s not to like about it?”

Harden looks recovered from the remaining hamstring issue that sidelined him his remaining online games in Brooklyn and his initial games in Philadelphia (37-23, third in the Eastern Meeting).

Teamed with Embiid, already an MVP frontrunner, they could be the most punishing duo in the NBA. Harden, who joked more than the weekend he was continue to “winging it” on offense, is receiving his teammates concerned though nonetheless getting the ball in his palms more than enough to dominate. The authentic-time recreation-time may perhaps gradual with Harden’s arrival: Embiid and Harden are initial and third in the NBA in average no cost-throw tries. Embiid made a vocation and NBA time-higher 23 free of charge throws from the Knicks.

The 76ers can only hope a parade of no cost throws can aid them get to planning a real one particular for the to start with time considering the fact that 1983.

But they had been the No. 1 seed in the East very last year and dwelling courtroom did not assist them. Possibly Harden will.

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Embiid, scoring 29.8 factors for each game and averaging 11.1 rebounds, states the best instances with Harden are ahead.

“What are you genuinely likely to do? He’s a great passer and, clearly, (I’m) a person that draws in a whole lot of awareness, much too,” Embiid said. “You have got to make a conclusion. Do you keep on me or do you keep on him?”

Conclusions, decisions.

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