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James Harden vs. The Sixers: 123-118

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The Process was awesome, but the Beard was better

NBA: Houston Rockets at Philadelphia 76ers
Embiid and Harden
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

A five-point loss to the third-best team in the West? Thirty-two points for Joel Embiid on national TV? #WhoIsPaulMillsap signs making the ESPN broadcast? We’ll take it.

Friday night’s game featured a hell of an effort by the Sixers, but James Harden simply was too much for Philadelphia to handle, as they fell 123-118 to the Rockets. The Bearded One dropped 51 points, 13 assists, and 12 boards en route to his 14th triple-double of the year, with 17 of his points coming in a fourth quarter.

The good guys fell behind by double digits three different times in the fourth quarter and each time battled back. Embiid helped lead the charge, scoring 14 of his 32 points in the final frame. The Process also notched seven boards, four assists, three steals, and a pair of blocks in 28 minutes of play, quelling concerns about an injured left knee that kept him out of Philadelphia’s last three games. He’s the first Sixers rookie since Allen Iverson to top 30 points multiple times as a rookie.

Six players scored in double figures for the Sixers, with T.J. McConnell adding 13 points and eight assists with three turnovers, Covington scoring 10 points and playing tenacious defense down the stretch, and Gerald Henderson (13 points), Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot (12 points), and Dario Saric (12 points) contributing off the bench. Nerlens Noel played 20 minutes and filled the stat sheet with five points, four boards, three assists, two blocks, and two steals.

For the Rockets, Nene added 21 points and played relatively good defense against Embiid, while Clint Capela came off the bench to score 17. Ryan Anderson (11 points) was the only other Houston player to reach double figures).

ICYMI: The Highlights