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James Harden erupts for 31 points after Charles Barkley told the world that the Philadelphia 76ers made a mistake trading for him

After Charles Barkley went live on radio to diss James Harden, The Beard responded with his best performance of the year.
Philadelphia 76ers guard James Harden and center Joel Embiid, Inside the NBA analyst Charles Barkley

James Harden, Joel Embiid and Charles Barkley

Before Game 4 between the Philadelphia 76ers and Miami Heat tip-off, Hall-of-Famer and NBA TNT analyst Charles Barkley went live on SiriusXM NBA Radio and told the world that the Philadelphia 76ers made a mistake of trading for James Harden in February.

According to Barley, Harden's performance so far with the Sixers should be a concerning sight for the franchise.

"The reason I didn't like the trade is two things," said Barkley. "The Sixers have a two-year window. Cause James is clearly in decline. But if you don't win this year, I think you gotta offer him $45 million next year and then they can sign that 4-year extension for $200 million. First of all, if the Sixers give him that money, they should fire whoever gives him that contract because that'll kill the franchise for the next 10-15 years."

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"The reason I didn't like the trade, I said 'I don't think they're gonna win a championship in the next two years and they gonna waste two years of Joel Embiid. Now you got the injury this season. James got a $45 million option which he's gonna take. And let me tell you if the Sixers give him that four-year, $200 million deal. James hasn't had 30 points in the last 35 games. So, I just think he's on a decline and, man, the Sixers they're gonna regret that trade," Barkley added.

Harden took it personally.

It seemed like The Beard tuned in to this special episode before the game because he just had his best performance as a Sixer. Harden led his team to victory and showed signs of his old self by scoring 31 points along with 9 assists and 7 rebounds. The way he dominated the game, especially in the fourth quarter (where he scored 16 points), was a hopeful and memorable moment for the Sixers as they tied the series (2-2) heading back to Miami.

If this version of Harden shows up nightly, the Sixers could be considered a strong championship contender. Harden's step-back jumper, burst, ability to the drive in the paint, and lethal three-point stroke (which he demonstrated in the clutch) paired with his playmaking skills opens up a different dynamic for the Sixers' offense — which could be a scary sight for the opposing's defense moving forward.

The question moving forward is whether or not this was a mere fluke of a performance or the first of many that the Sixers can expect. If Harden keeps this up, the Sixers can finally say that the trade was indeed worth it.

Barkley is yet to be proven right or wrong.

Barkley may look like a fool after his statements pre-game, but he will only be proven right or wrong by the end of the Playoffs. After all, a saying goes, "you're only as good as your last performance." For Harden to make sure that his $45 million contract next season (and a potential $200 million extension) is worth it, he must be this great or even better for the remainder of the post-season.

Given his history of choking in high-stakes games, that might concern Sixers fans. But at least this time, Harden has Joel Embiid, Tyrese Maxey, and Doc Rivers by his side. So let's see if things turn out differently this time around.

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