PHILADELPHIA. The MVP award seems a bit unattainable for Joel Embid, Հ James Harden’s behavior over the last few years will not beat him in any competition in the league’s popularity.
Suffice it to say that there is more to lose than gain for this duo, even as many predicted a kind of frustration believing that the cunning Toronto Raptors would turn the Philadelphia 76ers into a tempting, panicked band over the next two weeks.
Harden mocked the idea of putting pressure on himself, citing 13 years of playoff experience, which is almost like the instant gif that became popular a few years ago. And Embid has heard every story that is spread about questions that concern him, even questions that have nothing to do with him.
That anger did not cause the two stars to work hard or fight for a moment during the play-off opening in the spotlight, not allowing the restless crowd in their hometown to whistle for a moment, fearing the impending disappointment of the playoffs.
The 76ers beat the Raptors 1-0 with a convincing 131-111 victory, jumping on the unusual Raptors, playing as unitedly as they did from the first days of Harden’s acquisition.
The duo was not the first or second in the team with the highest scorers, those awards went to Tyrese Maxi and Tobias Harris. But the focus of Toronto’s crowd in general was on them.
“There is always pressure, but the reality is that it is just pressure from outside,” Harris said. “Every player has an idea of who he wants to be and how he wants to be on the pitch. Those two guys, especially James and Joel, are working. That’s why they are superstars. They want to be great. “They do everything to show it.”
The result of one game will not change that, but the process can certainly help this team go further than expected.
Harden, nicknamed “The Dribbler” for his penchant for turning the game into dust, became a “spectator” when his teammate Maxey acted as if there was sand under his feet, and a sophomore guard managed to avoid it.
Harden enjoyed playing in the background, assisting Maxey when the fog came out on the open floor, or at least did not interfere when Maxey started it in the second half. Twenty-one of Maxey’s top 38 points (one of the highest of his career last season) came in the third quarter, two of which came as Harden made a magnificent rope jump from 40 feet to Maxey, which led to a setback. layout.
“I am not fast at all. “He is,” Harden said without a hint of irony.
Maxey tripled 5, and Harris was 26 points with just 14 shots on goal.
Almost four days after the basics of the training camp led to the opening of the series, 76ers coach Doc Rivers said he had taken out his game book to fit Harden so he could learn to take all the secondary action through crime.
Harden’s last 10 games were ominous on Saturday, hitting just 37% from the field և 30 points from 30 points, averaging 19.6 points և 10.5 assists.
He did not have to break that streak, but Max և Harris ruled out Harden’s need to score 30 points.
Harden made 14 assists in just one turn, scoring 22 points and 6 from the 17th goal. The opening series have not been the focus of Harden for most of his post-season failures. That’s how he ends them.
But a bad start would be disastrous for someone who could play so much. Sometimes getting out of the way is the most valuable thing anyone can do.
“It’s not about scoring goals, it’s about doing small things and playing the right game,” said Harden. “Tyrese has achieved everything, we have to make sure he gets shots. I was aggressive, they helped, and for him, paint. It was a great game. “
The presence of retired boxer Floyd Mayweather on the court perfectly illustrated the “styles make fights” element of this series. Toronto does not have an Embiid-sized person on its list, but instead uses a bunch of lengths to compensate for the scope. And forcing the 76ers to play hard, turning around and raising suspicions would go a long way toward ensuring frustration.
No one finished on Saturday.
When the 76ers made their first turn, it was already a minute in the second half. Fred Van Wlit won some gold when he was not in trouble, scoring 18. And Pascal Siakam is exactly the problem he assumed he would lead the Raptors with 24. It should probably be taken into account that the impressive newcomer Scotty Barnes came down at the end of the second. half with a left ankle injury.
Each time the Raptors raised the ground, Maxey ran away with it alone. He adds an element of speed that is so different from Embiid և Harden’s intentional approach, making it the perfect speed calculator.
At the time he shone his third-quarter performance, “Maxey, Maxey” chants were as loud as Embiid’s “MVP” chants.
“She is not just playing with anxiety. That’s why you love him. There are some players like that. “It does not bother him much,” Rivers said. “I was hit hard in the elbow today. I do not know why he was going to fight with that guy, I do not think it would be good. But he got up. You could see everyone telling him you were և he did it. It was really good to see. Overcome it և keep playing. “I thought he did.”
Maxey is expected to end up voting for the best player, looking much more confident, confident than the last round of the playoffs, when the 76ers were upset with the Atlanta Hawks in the shock defeat in the seventh game in the Eastern Semifinals last summer. .
Embidy did not have Harden or Maxey when he last stumbled upon Nick Nurs’s outfit in the playoffs three years ago when Cavi Leonard’s bounce, bounce 2019 bump in 2019 made Embiid nauseous. He is more patient, no doubt more mature this time. .
Where he was once disappointed with double teams, Embid accepted them and waved the ball, knowing that the time would come to unleash his aggression on his own terms. While he was only 5 to 15 for 19 և 15 rebounds, he did not force the action և, however, he chased the Raptors on the glass, causing early failures that kept Toronto from recovering.
Embid will have to act like MVP after a long time, he was not in the mood to win, preferring to watch the Golden State Warriors win Game 1 over the Denver Nuggets at a press conference.
“Joel, the season he had. “I do not think he’s taking into account outside pressure,” Harris said. “In fact, he has a standard for how he wants to play, what level he wants to be at, what he aspires to. You guys can create whatever you want. “But we have a charter for what we want to do.”
And in one night, the 76ers complied with that charter.