Friday, March 24 2023
Indiana Pacers v Philadelphia 76ers
Jesse D. Garrabrant

It took nearly a week, but the Philadelphia 76ers have finally won a game. Early on Monday night they jumped out to a double-digit lead over the Indiana Pacers after the first quarter and never trailed the rest of the way as they cruised to a 120-106 victory that moved their record to 1-3 on the season. 

They did so in large part thanks to James Harden, who continued his terrific start to the season with another strong outing. He just missed out on the 70th triple-double of his career, finishing with 29 points, nine rebounds and 11 assists on an efficient 10 of 18 from the field. He also turned the ball over just once in 35 minutes. 

On the very first play of the game, Harden found Tobias Harris for a 3-pointer. A few minutes later, he threw down a dunk for the team’s next bucket. Those two plays foreshadowed how the rest of the night would go; Harden ran the show to perfection and was in full control as both a facilitator and scorer. 

The best highlight came in the middle of the fourth quarter when he dropped Pacers rookie Benedict Mathurin with a dribbling combo and drained a 3-pointer to push the Sixers’ lead back to 14 and essentially seal the win. 

With Joel Embiid still working his way back to full fitness, the Sixers have leaned on Harden through their first four games. And while they weren’t getting the results they wanted, he was delivering the type of performances that made them so eager to trade for him last season. 

Through four games he’s now averaging 26.8 points, 8.5 rebounds and 9.8 assists while shooting 48.6 percent from the field and 37.5 percent from 3-point land. Finally health, Harden vowed to have a bounce-back season after his disappointing showing in the playoffs, and so far he’s holding up his end of the bargain. 

Now, the Sixers need to turn those showings into more wins.  



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