The Philadelphia 76ers had their first game against a top 5 seed after James Harden joined the team. The 76ers went up against the Cleveland Cavaliers and came away with the win. The win was the 76ers 5th straight and their 4th straight with James Harden. The 76ers also rose to the 2 seed in the eastern conference with the win and are just 2 games behind the 1 seed Miami Heat.
The best part about the win is that Joel Embiid, the frontrunner for MVP did not even have a good game. Embiid only had 22 points and 9 rebounds. It was Tyrese Maxey, the young guard on the team that led the 76ers to victory with 33 points and 5 assists. James Harden had a double-double with 25 points and 11 assists. He had more assists than shot attempts and has morphed into a great point guard.
The 76ers also had contributions from Tobias Harris (15 points), Georges Niang (17 points), and Shake Milton (11 points). The young Cavaliers team played extremely well with their frontcourt doing a great job of restricting Embiid. They were led by their point guard Darius Garland who had 26 points and 19 assists.
The Cavaliers had 4 other players with double-digit scoring – Jarrett Allen (20 points and 7 rebounds), Isaac Okoro (22 points), Cedi Osman (20 points), and Kevin Love (11 points and 10 rebounds). Ultimately it wasn’t enough to overcome the Juggernaut that the 76ers have become, especially on the offensive end. It isn’t just James Harden but the unexpected improvement of Tyrese Maxey after his arrival.
Along with the 76ers rising to the 2 seed, the loss led to the Cavaliers dropping to the 6 seed. With how volatile the East is, the Cavaliers could have a chance to rise again, but it is going to be extremely difficult if they don’t start winning games. The Cavaliers have lost 3 in a row now and need to get back to winning basketball games again.