James Harden predicted after the previous season that he would seem to be a completely different player the following year because he would have had the whole summer to focus on improving his game.
Harden Has Been on Record as Saying
Harden stated that he feels “really good” after being able to get back to being a “workaholic” in the gym this summer.
This comes after Harden delivered a second straight terrific performance to begin the season for the 76ers on Thursday night, scoring 31 points in addition to eight rebounds and nine assists in a loss to the Milwaukee Bucks that dropped Philadelphia to 0-2.
Harden expressed his frustration by saying, “I’m a workaholic, so not being able to put in the effort like I typically do was annoying.”
“I was able to do that throughout the summer, and even up to this point, I am in a pretty good place mentally and physically.
So, all you have to do is keep putting in the effort and accepting the consequences of your actions; that is the philosophy I try to live by ” The effort that I put in is often overlooked by others around me.
This capacity to score, in addition to all of these other things, does not come without effort. It does not matter how much other people want to speak about things that are not that important.
I am a workaholic, and when I am not doing that, I love to play basketball and hang out at the gym. Therefore, I will proceed to accomplish it.” But I do not even think it should be about the person.
It’s fantastic when individuals do well, and I’ll do everything it takes to help this team improve, but we all need to be performing at a high level together and making sure that happens is a big part of my job.”
When questioned more about his physique and how he was feeling, Harden said simply, “I can move now.”
Despite this, the 76ers were not able to win thanks to Harden’s performance.
His Late-Game Attempt to Win the Game
His potential game-winning shot in the last seconds of the game over one of the finest defensive guards in the league, Jrue Holiday, went out of bounds, and James Harden subsequently said that he thought it was a nice look but not a fantastic one.
“I suppose I should have been more patient,” he said. But I will accept it as it is.
Harden, De’Anthony Melton, Danuel House, Tobias Harris, and P.J. Tucker, the 76ers’ small-ball unit, erased a 13-point Bucks lead early in the fourth quarter to get Philadelphia back into the game.
With 24.7 seconds remaining, Grayson Allen kicked out to a wide-open Wes Matthews after Harris abandoned him to assist on Allen’s drive, and Matthews buried the game-winning jumper for the Bucks.
“I made a mental blunder,” Harris said. Grayson Allen made a nice cut into the lane, but there were no open three-pointers at that point in the game because of the clock and the score.
But with around five minutes left on the clock, 76ers head coach Doc Rivers reinserted superstar center Joel Embiid.
Embiid struggled mightily tonight, finishing with 15 points, 12 boards, 3 assists, and 1 blocked shot while shooting only 6-for-21 (including 0-for-7 in the second half) and making 4 turnovers. Embiid did not want to talk to the press after the game.
Rivers remarked, “I don’t know whether the Bucks did anything [against] him.” “Simply put, he didn’t have a very good game. Yes, he is just like the rest of us. It was not one of his finest performances.
He also helped us in many more ways.” In contrast, Harden’s performance was solid for the second consecutive game to start the year. He scored 35 points, grabbed eight boards, and dished out seven assists in Philadelphia’s season-opening loss to the Boston Celtics on Tuesday.
Only The Third Player In the 76ers’ Annals
Becoming just the third player in 76ers history, joining Wilt Chamberlain and Allen Iverson in the Hall of Fame, to do so in his first two games.
(Source: ESPN Stats & Information). Harden surprised everyone on Thursday by dominating from the midrange after becoming a Houston Rockets superstar by shooting the layup, three, and free throw.
According to ESPN Stats & Information, his seven made mid-range jumpers were a personal best. They also represented a third of the 21 midrange jumpers he made all of last season when he never had more than one game in which he turned two or more.
Harden remarked, “I simply accepted what the defense provided me because I’ve been working on my game all summer.” “A few 3s slipped through my fingers, but that’s out of your control. What you get out of anything is directly proportional to the effort you put into it.
They fired at me from around midrange, and I had to deal with the consequences.” The Bucks might, too.
They won their season opener on the road while missing three key players (Khris Middleton, Pat Connaughton, and Joe Ingles), an accomplishment that superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo deemed crucial for the team’s future success.
At the end of the game, Antetokounmpo declared, “I certainly want to be more aggressive” after tallying 21 points, 13 rebounds, 8 assists, and 3 blocks. “Although, in the grand scheme of things, it makes little difference.
Today’s game only lasted 48 minutes, so I did not have to be too aggressive.
If trusting my teammates, passing the ball around, and making sacrifices is what it takes to get everyone engaged and at the right spots at the right times, then count me in as the first player to do whatever it takes to help us win games.”