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James Harden’s inability to play well in high stake games should scare Sixers fans

How bad was Harden? Sixers fans went from booing Ben Simmons at the start of the game to booing their team at the end of the game.
Philadelphia 76ers James Harden's first game in Brooklyn after the trade

James Harden had another dissapearing act in a high-pressure game

The Philadelphia 76ers crumbled to the Brooklyn Nets at home (129-100), no thanks to James Harden's lackluster performance on Thursday night.

Harden, who put up an underwhelming 11 points, 5 assists, and 6 rebounds performance against his former team, didn't look like himself on Thursday, which was a massive disappointment for Sixers fans. Harden looked lost; he was blocked six times in the first half alone and turned the ball over four times in what was expected to be a high-stakes game against his old team.

Sixers fans went from showering boos to Ben Simmons at the start of the game to booing their team at the end of the game instead.

Harden's biggest flaw

The biggest story of Thursday's most important and watched game was not that the Sixers lost but how Harden crumbled once again in high-pressure situations.

This was supposed to be the game where he proves that the Sixers won the Simmons-Harden trade. The Beard was outplayed by Seth Curry and Andre Drummond, two players included in Philadelphia's trade package.

Thursday's game once again showcased Harden's biggest flaw: his inability to perform at a high level in games like this. He's had moments where he couldn't answer the bell throughout his career, especially in the Playoffs - most notably the 2019 Western Conference semifinals (when the Houston Rockets were so close to defeating Golden State).

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As NBA Hall-of-Famer Charles Barkley said, Harden can't seem to show up when needed most.

"He has a reputation of fading in big games. He has done nothing tonight to make us forget that," Barkley said.

To make things worse for Harden, it didn't help that Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving had their best performance as a duo this season. They combined for 61 points as Durant and Irving shot 58% and 47% from the field, respectively. The Nets' pair looked engaged all game as if they wanted to prove that Harden made the mistake of divorcing them.

After the Nets' dominant win, the night ended with a classic Durant presser, threw in a jab for Philly fans.

A cause for concern

History often repeats itself, and Harden's performance on Thursday night should be an eye-opener for Sixers fans. Yes, he was seen nursing his hamstring injury after the game, but that's still not an excuse given how well he and his new partner Joel Embiid have played in their previous games.

That said, it'll be interesting to see how Harden responds and if he can prove that he can carry a team to the finish line.

Thursday's game might not have been an elimination game, but it sure was a statement game for all parties concerned. Number one on the list for concern was James Harden, who once again might have just shown his true colors of fading away from the brightest lights.

Poor Sixers fans. Poor Joel Embiid. 


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