The battle of MVP frontrunners might be off on Monday night after Joel Embiid was ruled out for Philadelphia, but James Harden is on track to return to the lineup when the Sixers visit Denver to play Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets.
“James Harden [Achilles] participated in shoot-around this morning and remains on track to return vs. Nuggets tonight,” ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Monday. “Harden has missed three straight games.”
It’s the second matchup between James Harden’s Sixers and the Nuggets this season; Philadelphia defeated Denver 126-119 on Jan. 28, led by a monster, 47-point performance from Embiid. Philly won’t have the luxury of the MVP favorite in the lineup on Monday night, and will need to approach by committee to shut down Jokic.
The Nuggets have been nearly unbeatable at home, winning an outrageous 31 of 37 games at Ball Arena. They’ve also won three games in a row. James Harden and the 76ers have had a strong two weeks, going 7-3 in their last 10 and averaging 116.7 points on 49.8 percent shooting over that stretch.
“I’m hoping,” Philly head coach Doc Rivers said during Sunday’s postgame press conference regarding Harden’s availability. “Again, that’s why we bring guys on the road, but I really don’t know. I was pretty sure he wasn’t playing tonight, but I was actually pretty sure everybody else would, and D. House didn’t play tonight. I really do stay out of that more than you guys think I do.”
With Harden all but confirmed for the 76ers on Monday, the team will continue to chase the Milwaukee Bucks for the top seed in the Eastern Conference, currently sitting just four games back.
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