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James Harden Game 7 Meltdown vs. Celtics 112-88

James Harden Game 7 Meltdown vs. Celtics 112-88

Crypto Chris
Crypto Chris
James Harden Game 7 Meltdown vs. Celtics 112-88

The Celtics dominated the Sixers with a resounding 112-88 victory in the pivotal Game 7 of the second-round series on Sunday. Jayson Tatum’s extraordinary performance of 51 points, set a new NBA record for a Game 7. Meanwhile, Philadelphia’s dynamic duo of Joel Embiid and James Harden struggled, shooting a combined 8-of-29 from the field for a mere 24 points. To put it into perspective, Tatum single-handedly outscored both players combined. The underwhelming display from Philadelphia’s star players was a shocking disappointment, and NBA Twitter didn’t hold back in expressing their astonishment.

Undoubtedly, Tatum deserves recognition as the focal point for his record setting performance. However, from the perspective of Philadelphia, it’s difficult to overlook the sheer disappointment exhibited by the Sixers, particularly Embiid and Harden, in an elimination game.

Harden’s reputation as a player who folds during high-pressure moments is likely cemented further, while Embiid, who has yet to advance beyond the second round, continues to build a similar narrative. Doc Rivers, apart from his one championship with Boston, is adding to the perception that he struggles to guide teams past the playoff obstacles. Yet, in general, it was a collective collapse from the Sixers. Despite trailing by a mere three points at halftime, they were outscored 33-10 in the third quarter. Their three-point shooting was abysmal, going 8-of-37 (21.6 percent), and they committed 12 turnovers compared to the Celtics’ seven.

Losing a Game 7 on the road when the opposing team’s top player has a 50+ point performance might, under different circumstances, be more tolerable. However, the Sixers had a prime opportunity within their grasp. They were leading the series 3-2 and had the advantage of playing Game 6 at home in Philadelphia. In that game, Tatum struggled for three quarters before erupting in the fourth. It was a significant missed opportunity. The disappointment only compounded in Game 7, which remained competitive during the first half before the Sixers seemed to forget how to play basketball.  Also its important to note Harden scored 0 Points in the final three games of the series (4th Quarters) attempting only six shots.

Many are asking will Harden return to the Rockets?  Due to the over-38 rules in the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), the Philadelphia 76ers have the capacity to offer James Harden a maximum four-year contract worth $210 million. However, they are unable to go beyond this amount. On the other hand, the Houston Rockets, as pointed out by Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report, have the flexibility to offer Harden a four-year deal valued at $201.7 million, utilizing their available salary cap space. 

Its been said that Harden feels he can contribute to Jalen Green’s growth and elevate him to elite player status, potentially becoming his co-star in Houston. Furthermore, there exists the prospect that Harden has a desire to wrap up his career with the Houston Rockets. 

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