Sixers video: Joel Embiid erases James Harden's layup attempt and stares him down
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Sixers video: Joel Embiid erases James Harden’s layup attempt and stares him down

James Harden, Joel Embiid

Monday night’s matchup between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Houston Rockets has already provided plenty of highlights in the first half. The second quarter ended with one of the best of the night when James Harden swooped in for a seemingly easy layup:

Joel Embiid swooped in at the last second to swat the shot off the backboard. Both All-Stars crashed to the floor just as time expired in the first half.

When Embiid got off the floor, he got up in Harden’s face, gloating over the block. Sixers fans surrounding Harden also ragged on him as he collected himself from the hardwood.

Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni took exception to the abuse his star took and immediately approached the nearest referee to plead his case. Unfortunately for the Rockets, it was deemed too aggressive, and D’Antoni was assigned a technical that J.J. Reddick shot when the half resumed.

Even though he was blocked, Harden had an excellent half. He scored 27 points on 10 of 20 shooting from the field. Embiid performed well too, scoring 24 on six of nine from the field.

The Sixers have the early upper hand, taking a commanding 50-65 lead through two quarters. The Rockets are playing without two of their three best players in Chris Paul and Clint Capela, and it has shown throughout the game. Embiid is getting whatever he wants in the paint without the Rockets’ main interior defender. Harden will have to take over the game for the Rockets to have any chance to come back and win.