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James Harden’s performance on Thursday night in the Philadelphia 76ers’ loss against the Miami Heat drew sharp criticism from ESPN pundit Stephen A. Smith.
Harden played 42 minutes for Philadelphia. He was 4-of-9 with 11 points, nine assists and four rebounds in the 99-90 loss. He only took two shots in the second half – one each in the third and four quarters. For a superstar who was supposed to be the No. 2 option in scoring behind Joel Embiid, he came up short.
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It was Harden’s second-half performance that really drew the ire of Smith.
“That performance by James Harden requires an investigation. How in God’s name you go 22 minutes in the second half and attempt one shot. It was a horrific performance. Anemic and impotent performance by James Harden,” Smith said after the game. “And I’m really interested in seeing what the Philadelphia 76ers are going to do with Doc Rivers because I smell something and it don’t smell right at all.”
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The 76ers acquired Harden from the Brooklyn Nets in a blockbuster trade at the deadline in February. He was supposed to help carry the team deep into the playoffs but for another year, Philly fails to get to the conference finals.
Harden was asked about whether he plans on opting into another year with the 76ers. He has a $47.3 million option. The superstar guard plans on being back.
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“I’ll be here. Whatever allows this team to continue to grow, get better and do the things necessary to compete at the highest level,” he said.