The Philadelphia 76ers were eliminated from the playoffs Thursday night thanks to a 99-90 loss to the Miami Heat. It was a complete meltdown as James Harden failed to show up and Doc Rivers essentially gave up and gave a wild postgame press conference. The media was swift to condemn Harden and the Sixers, ripping them for falling short of expectations.
Here's a collection of reactions from around the sports media landscape.
Stephen A. Smith
Stephen A. Smith was smelling something and it doesn't smell right. He ripped Harden's performance and suggested it should be investigated. Harden went 22 minutes in the second half and only took two shots. Smith called the performance anemic, horrific and impotent. He also implied he thinks Doc Rivers might be done in Philadelphia.
Even Dickie V. weighed in on the Sixers' collapse, calling Harden a liability when he's not scoring. He also seemed to question Harden's passion by pointing out how much Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey have.
The Sixers continue to not win championships no matter who is in charge. Elton Brand is the team's current general manager and Torre points out Sam Hinkie was pushed out six years ago. Nothing seems to change no matter who is in charge. It's now been 21 years since the Sixers even reached the Eastern Conference Finals.
Not so fast on that max extension. If Harden wants to return to Philly and keep the Sixers contenders, he's probably going to need to rework his contract.
Stephen A. Smith was on Get Up reiterating his issues and belief that Harden tanked the game, almost on purpose. He said something smells about the fact that Harden only took two shots in the second half of an elimination game. Fellow panelist. Amar'e Stoudemire seemed to be agreeing with it.
Kendrick Perkins got his say on the situation on Friday and put the blame solely on Harden. Perkins pointed out that Harden is a great player but hasn't been able to make things work with numerous star teammates including Dwight Howard, Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Then Stephen A. Smith had his turn and once again ripped Harden and said it almost looked like he tanked the game on purpose.
The Herd with Colin Cowherd
Joy Taylor was guest hosting The Herd for Colin Cowherd on Friday and she had Ryen Russillo on to discuss Harden and the Sixers. Russillo said he wouldn't be shocked if Harden was back in Philly.