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Through two games of their first round series against the Brooklyn Nets, the Philadelphia 76ers find themselves with a 2-0 lead, thanks to contributions from an array of players. Despite facing constant double-teams, Joel Embiid is headlining things and playing quite well on both ends. Burying seven long balls, James Harden was very good in Game 1, but struggled immensely in Game 2 (eight points, 3-of-13 shooting).
Others like Tobias Harris, P.J. Tucker, Tyrese Maxey and Paul Reed have all stepped up at various points. According to a recent survey, 34 percent of participants tabbed Harris as the X factor in this series, squeaking past the success in non-Embiid minutes (32 percent) and Maxey (29 percent). Tucker received the remaining five percent of the vote.
Harris is averaging 20.5 points (69.9 percent true shooting), eight rebounds and three assists in the first round. He’s shooting 59.1 percent on two-pointers, 66.7 percent from deep and 100 percent at the foul line. Maxey was quiet in Game 1, but exploded for 33 points in Game 2. Tucker knocked down two triples, corralled seven rebounds and snagged five steals in the Game 1 victory. Reed is averaging 8.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and one steal in 12 minutes per game. The Sixers are also a net neutral in the 26 minutes Embiid’s rested during the series so far, partly because of Reed’s efforts.
Game 3 between the Sixers and Nets tips off around 7:30 p.m. inside Barclays Center on Thursday night.