Joel Embiid and James Harden both balled out in the Philadelphia 76ers’ Game 1 win over the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday. The Nets simply had no answer for the Sixers’ superstar duo, and it is clear that Brooklyn will have to do a far better job in trying to contain Embiid and Harden, among others, if they want to give themselves a chance in this series.
For his part, Embiid had nothing but praise for Harden after Philly’s 121-101 blowout win in the series opener. The Sixers big man has no doubt in his mind that Harden is the top playmaker in the NBA today. However, Embiid also noted one caveat he wants Harden to keep an eye on moving forward:
“Like I said, he’s the best playmaker in the league by far,” Embiid said, via ClutchPoints on Twitter. “But we don’t want him — I certainly don’t want him — to fall in love with just that. We need him to be aggressive.”
“Like I said, he’s the best playmaker in the league by far. But we don’t want him — I certainly don’t want him — to fall in love with just that. We need him to be aggressive.”
Joel Embiid on James Harden pic.twitter.com/Z7MDtKj3fG
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) April 15, 2023
Harden was just that in Game 1, scoring 23 points on 21 shot attempts against the Nets. Despite his rather inefficient shooting on the evening, Harden continued to look for his shot throughout the contest. This resulted in seven triples for the former league MVP on 13 tries from beyond the arc. Harden kept the ball moving as well, dropping 13 assists in what turned out to be an eye-opening Game 1 performance for the 10-time All-Star.
Embiid wasn’t bad himself either, logging 26 points on 7-of-15 shooting, to go along with five rebounds, three assists, a steal, and two blocks. It wasn’t exactly a monstrous performance for either Embiid or Harden — at least by their standards — but still, the Sixers were able to cruise to victory to draw first blood in the series.
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