James Harden looked far from comfortable in Game 1 vs the Miami Heat, scoring just 16 points on 5-of-13 shooting and committing 5 turnovers.
Coming into the series versus the Heat, the Philadelphia 76ers knew that they were going to be short-handed. Their best player Joel Embiid suffered a right orbital fracture and mild concussion in game 6 vs the Toronto Raptors ruling him out for the first few games of this series.
All eyes were now on ‘The Beard’ James Harden to step up and be aggressive in Embiid’s absence, something the 76ers would desperately need if they were to get past arguably the best team in the Eastern Conference.
Unfortunately, Harden struggled mightily in Game 1 as the 76ers would go on to lose the game 106-92. He finished the night with 16 points on 5-of-13 shooting with nine rebounds, five assists, and five turnovers.
As expected, James Harden was roasted all over social media for his lackluster performance
While Harden’s role has certainly changed since his move to the Sixers and he has adjusted well to that role, the expectations in the playoffs are to take it to the next level, especially if your best player isn’t available to play.
Everyone expected the former MVP and scoring champion to show up in Game 1 but that wasn’t the case. What we witnessed was another choke job where Harden couldn’t get going himself nor get his teammates involved. Social media was quick to point out all the flaws from Game 1.
James Harden is so unpleasant to watch. His game is so boring
— David Lang (@Dukielang) May 3, 2022
James Harden has as many turnovers as field goals: 5
Tyler Herro has 9 field goals and no turnovers @5ReasonsSports
— Ethan J. Skolnick, 5 Reasons Sports (@EthanJSkolnick) May 3, 2022
James Harden with a Game 1 stat line of 16-9-5 on 5-13 shooting. That’s abysmal. Period. What happened to him?
— Joe Fann (@Joe_Fann) May 3, 2022
Did James Harden hit South Beach at halftime of tonight’s Game 1 in Miami? I couldn’t find him in the second half.
— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) May 3, 2022
Fans have been left scratching their heads and wondering if they will ever get to see the old and dominant James Harden ever again.
History has always told us that a superstar always responds after having a bad game. It will be interesting to see how Harden does.