When the final seconds ticked off the clock in the Wells Fargo Center in the 76ers’ 99–90 loss to the Heat on Thursday evening, it brought with it a familiar sight for James Harden.
Philadelphia’s season was on the line. Needing a win to keep his championship hopes alive, Harden failed to show up as the 10-time All-Star that many thought he would be in the season’s biggest moment.
The 32-year-old finished with 11 points in the game, attempting just two shots in the second half. The last field goal that he converted came with 3:31 to play in the second quarter.
After the game, when Harden was asked why he played such a small part of the offense in the second half, his answer was rather simple.
“We ran our offense, and the ball didn’t get back to me,” Harden said.
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Harden’s struggles throughout this year’s playoffs have been under a big microscope once again. Daryl Morey, the 76ers team president, spent months orchestrating a trade to send Ben Simmons to the Nets to acquire Harden and compete for an NBA title.
However, other than his 30-point performance in Game 4, Harden didn’t deliver in the clutch. Despite a subpar performance, 76ers head coach Doc Rivers said Harden’s season and performance was not the sole reason the team was eliminated in the second round. “We win and lose as a team,” Rivers said at the postgame news conference.
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