PHILADELPHIA–The Philadelphia 76ers present two huge challenges for anybody to defend in the form of Joel Embiid and James Harden. Embiid led the league in scoring as a big man for the second straight season with his ability to score at all three levels while Harden led the league in assists.
The Brooklyn Nets know what they are up against in this series and they know how talented the star tandem is out on the floor. They got a taste of what they can do when the Sixers took Game 1 on Saturday to open the series.
Nets big man Nic Claxton is going to play a big role in this series defensively for Brooklyn as he will have to defend Embiid as well as having to switch at times and defend Harden.
“His physicality, his size, but with the physicality, also being able to draw fouls and knock those free throws down at such a high rate,” Claxton stated on Embiid. “It makes him a tough cover and makes him an MVP candidate.”
As far as Harden is concerned, the two of them were teammates briefly while with the Nets and their relationship goes beyond the court.
“He believed in me from day one before I really made any type of imprint in the league and our relationship goes beyond basketball,” Claxton said of The Beard. “That’s always my brother and it’s good to see him doing well here.”
Harden has always been a playmaker in his career and Philadelphia is benefiting from his strong play at the point guard spot and as a leader for this offense.
“He just makes everybody better,” Claxton continued. “He hasn’t missed the playoffs since he’s been in the league and it’s remarkable because he hasn’t always been on the talented teams and the way his game has aged. Leading the league in assists and still impacting the game the way that he is.”
It means a little more for Claxton to be able to compete against Harden in the playoffs. Especially, when considering their relationship off the court and their time together in Brooklyn.
“It’s definitely dope competing against people you played with earlier in your career,” he finished. “At the end of the day, no matter who the opponent is, you just gotta go out there and hoop.”
Game 2 between the Sixers and the Nets is set for Monday at 7:30 p.m. EDT.
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Source: Yahoo Sports