James Harden’s Philadelphia 76ers debut did not disappoint.
It seemed like an eternity ago when the blockbuster deal of the trade deadline went down, with the 76ers sending All-Star guard Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond and two first-round picks to the Brooklyn Nets for Harden and Paul Millsap.
In his introductory press conference in Philadelphia, Harden mentioned it would be “go time” after the All-Star break and he upheld his end of the bargain, ready to take the floor against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday.
His first game exceeded expectations, leading the 76ers to a blowout 133-102 win over the Timberwolves.
If you missed any of the action, we had you covered with live updates, highlights and more from his debut.
James Harden’s 76ers debut: Live stats, score, highlights vs. Timberwolves
Final: 76ers 133, Timberwolves 102
James Harden’s night ended with a stuffed stat sheet of 27 points, 12 assists and eight rebounds in 35 minutes of play. The Beard was lethal, shooting 7-for-12 from the field, 5-for-7 from 3-point range and 8-for-9 from the free throw line.
He was clicking with Joel Embiid, who continued his monster season with 34 points and 10 rebounds. He also elevated Tyrese Maxey’s game, who scored 28 points on 12-of-16 shooting from the field.
Harden’s debut was a scary sight for the rest of the Eastern Conference.
James Harden is taking over this game. He buried another and-one 3 (his second of the game), then knocked down another 3-pointer, then found Tyrese Maxey cutting for an easy layup to help the 76ers extend their lead to 27 points.
Harden is up to 27 points, 12 assists and eight rebounds on the night.
End of third quarter: 76ers 92, Timberwolves 74
A late flurry from Anthony Edwards cut into Philadelphia’s lead, but the 76ers are still in the driver’s seat. James Harden has been orchestrating the offense to perfection, tallying 20 points, eight assists and six rebounds through three quarters.
He found Joel Embiid running the floor with him for his latest assist.
James Harden has his stepback 3-ball going tonight. Dangerous.
Halftime: 76ers 65, Timberwolves 49
James Harden has the 76ers up big in the first half, going for 17 points, five assists and three rebounds so far in his debut.
Philly rapper Meek Mill likes what he sees so far.
Here’s the first James Harden-to-Joel Embiid connection you were probably looking for.
James Harden has the 76ers’ offense grooving. He just pushed the pace on the fast break and found Tyrese Maxey running alongside him for an easy layup. Harden has nine points, three assists and three boards as Philadelphia leads the Timberwolves 47-36 with 6:28 to play in the first half.
James Harden and Tobias Harris are starting to find a groove together. First, Harris found Harden fading to the corner for an open 3 then Harden returned the favor and kicked to an open Harris on the perimeter for 3.
End of first quarter: 76ers 34, Timberwolves 25
The 76ers are firing on all cylinders early in the James Harden era. Harden had five points and an assist in the first quarter, but Joel Embiid continued his typical dominance. The MVP candidate has 10 points (8-8 FT) and six rebounds through the first frame.
James Harden uses his court vision to catch the Timberwolves’ defense sleeping, finding Tobias Harris for an open 3-pointer.
And James Harden is on the board! His first bucket as a 76er is a tough and-one finish in traffic. The 76ers lead 16-6 with 6:51 to play in the first quarter.
The 76ers will start James Harden, Tyrese Maxey, Matisse Thybulle, Tobias Harris and Joel Embiid.
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