James Harden returned to the court for the Philadelphia 76ers after missing their last 14 games with a foot injury. The Sixers lost in double overtime to the Houston Rockets by a score of 132-123 while Harden begins to get his legs under him again.
Doc Rivers said before the game that he would enact a minutes restriction for Harden to ease him back into it. But once the game remained competitive in the fourth quarter and overtime, Harden kept playing. The Sixers’ star sounded off on the strategy after the game, in which he played 38 minutes.
“The whole minute restriction thing was kinda weird to me,” James Harden said. “Play the first five minutes, then I come out. Then, the second quarter was kind of the same thing. Then the third quarter I come out [after] the first five minutes and don’t come back in the whole third quarter, and then I played the whole fourth quarter. I just didn’t know. I was all over the place. I’m not used to it. Not making any excuses. I gotta be better.”
Harden finished with 21 points on 4-19 shooting, as well as seven assists and four rebounds. His playmaking was important but his inability to score from the field was a key reason why the Sixers couldn’t take down Jalen Green and the Rockets. His return is a good thing for Philadelphia, though, as the team was really starting to miss him on the court.
When asked about how he feels physically, Harden said he feels good and was honest about his struggles. “Too many turnovers, easy shots that I missed…definitely a game we should have won,” he said. the Sixers will look to snap their losing skid on Friday night at home against the Los Angeles Lakers.