The duo of James Harden and Joel Embiid is highly talented but still somewhat of a work in progress. Even as the Philadelphia 76ers’ two stars learn to play together, they are providing some exciting results. In the Sixers’ win over the Utah Jazz, they came together on the biggest play of the game to get the win.
The Sixers defeated the Jazz behind 61 combined points from Embiid and Harden. Each star shined in the fourth quarter, with Harden scoring 16 points and Embiid hitting the shot that put Philly in front with five seconds left.
James Harden breaks down the play:
"We just emptied the corner out. Me, going to my left hand, downhill, I saw the big man come over a little bit. Joel was open…He made a comfortable shot. We're gonna live with that every time." https://t.co/ZPRMXZTO59
— Sam DiGiovanni (@BySamDiGiovanni) January 15, 2023
“Our chemistry is much, much better,” Harden said of his partnership with Embiid. The two stars have been working diligently to improve their pick-and-roll game, which can torment defenses from various angles. They have barely played half a regular season’s worth of games together but are communicating frequently about what they can do to unlock each other’s games.
“He’s so dominant and versatile,” Harden said of his pick-and-roll partner. “I’m sure he’s never played with a playmaker like me, so it’s just constant communication. He hasn’t probably rolled this much before. I haven’t had a big that pops like that. So, it’s just constant communication to where if we see something, play-by-play, we just talk about it. We try to execute, get a good shot and just keep going. That just continues to build up and add up to where, when you get to the postseason, we’ve literally seen everything so we know we’re on the same page, so we know what to expect, we know what to do.”
When the James Harden-Joel Embiid two-man game really gets going, the Sixers are very tough to stop. Even in games like this one, where the partnership wasn’t in its highest gear, it gives Philly enough to put up a fight. Getting them at their best together when the playoffs come around is pivotal.