The Philadelphia 76ers failed to make it out of the Eastern Conference Semifinals for the second consecutive season. Sixers fans left early, perhaps because they were experiencing deja vu and knew there was only one outcome. For the second consecutive season a left-handed star disappeared in the second half. Last year it was Ben Simmons. This year it was James Harden, whose disappearing act is actually worse than Simmons' infamous Game 7 against the Atlanta Hawks.
Tom Haberstroh was ready to drop this as soon as the score went final.
Harden attempted just one more field goal in the 4th quarter (1) than Ben Simmons did last season (0), but at least Simmons scored a point. Harden was shut out in the second half after scoring 11 in the first half.
While Harden outscored Simmons 11 to 5, Simmons had 13 assists to Harden's 9. He also had 8 rebounds to Harden's 4 and only turned the ball over once, while Harden turned it over four times tonight. Harden was a -16 and Simmons was actually a +1.
The worst part is that we all knew Simmons didn't want to shoot the ball. That's been his thing his entire career. James Harden was briefly one of the best scorers... ever! He led the league in scoring three times! This was the opposite of what the Sixers were hoping for when they traded for him. They ended up with Ben Simmons with a bigger beard and no defense. And they had to give up players and draft picks for the honor.
Game 6 was everything everyone had been saying about Harden for years. He shrinks in big moments. If clutch exists, he's not that. And Harden has a $47 million player option this summer and the Sixers have to consider giving him a whole new contract.