Despite an injury that sidelined MVP frontrunner Joel Embiid, the league’s back-to-back scoring champion, the 76ers managed a huge win.
Philly defeated Boston, 119-115, during the first game of the semifinals in the Eastern Conference playoffs. James Harden had a tremendous performance, finishing with 45 points (17-30, 7-14 3P) as well as 6 assists.
While the win over the Celtics was tremendous, the 76ers still have a long way to go before they can reach their ambitious goal of winning their first championship since 1983.
So as several players on the 76ers celebrated on the court at TD Garden in Boston, Harden was seen on the broadcast escorting his teammates back to the locker room.
“It’s 1 game, bro. It’s 1 game.”
James Harden knows the job isn’t finished 😤pic.twitter.com/T33fMshqjU
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) May 2, 2023
Hot mics after the final buzzer picked up audio of Harden saying, “It’s one game, bro. It’s one game.”
Another camera showed Harden pointing to the locker room, suggesting his teammates get off the floor:
James Harden told the Sixers to go to the locker room after their win 👀 pic.twitter.com/UqbSwsZB09
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) May 2, 2023
This reads like a strong sign of leadership from Harden.
While it was helpful to defeat the Celtics on the road and without Embiid, the job isn’t done. They still have to record eleven more wins until they can call themselves NBA champions, which is what they all sought when the season began.