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Through three games of the Joel Embiid-James Harden partnership, the early returns are magnificent. The Philadelphia 76ers are 3-0, with three victories by a combined 62 points. Their 125.3 offensive rating over that span tops the league.
This dominant start has been fueled by Embiid and Harden. With a star guard in the fold, the MVP-caliber big man is averaging 32.7 points, 10.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists, two blocks and one steal on 65.9 percent true shooting.
Meanwhile, Harden is averaging 27.3 points, 12.3 assists, nine rebounds and 1.7 steals on 79.2 percent true shooting, including a triple-double in Sunday’s victory. They’ve been great together, and according to recent poll, most voters believe the duo can maintain this level of play.
Embiid’s numbers all feel genuinely replicable. He’s not shooting absurdly well from anywhere on the floor and is racking up a ton of free throws because he’s attacking scrambled defenses, something he’s not often done in his career.
Harden’s shooting — 59 percent from the floor and 50 percent beyond the arc — are outlier good, but the film will obviously show you his process has been encouraging and he’s playing exceptional ball. Even when his scoring regresses somewhat, he’s going to continue fashioning a massive impact for this team.
But if those 67 percent of voters are truly correct, I wager the Sixers’ title hopes will be in pretty damn good shape. Either way, Philadelphia is well-positioned moving forward with these two superstars at the helm.