The James Harden paradox: Vanishing act in Sixers’ blowout loss flashes both sides of fascinating career arc


It was classic James Harden -In both ways the paradox tends to play itself. As a historically great player, and as an anxious player on a historic scale, for results that go beyond individual praise.

In Philadelphia 76ers Despicable by the hands of Brooklyn Nets among them 129-100 rout On Thursday night Harden flashed on both sides of his fascinating career arc, and all the possibilities-very good or very, very disappointed-not yet run.

You know the inside story: the trade that sent Harden to Philadelphia for a moody star Ben Simmons,plus Seth Curry, Andre Drummond Draft topic, and it has already supercharged its rivals at the fierce Eastern Conference.

Simmons hasn’t played yet this season, but despite the deal he forced, he arrived at his old springboard in streetwear. NBA The spotlight is on hard feelings, exchanged stars, the conversion of ex-friends to rivals, and all the other soap opera dripping from the contest that currently features these two teams.

The ticket was a luxury price. The arena shook. The whole league was watching. And the playoff atmosphere provided a game with all the markings of a very, very big and important deal.

Enter both sides of Harden and his confusing coin.

In just five minutes from the start of the match, Harden hit three pointers and established himself as the highest scorer in history. Tray was number 2,561 in his career, Push him in front of Reggie Miller The third longest in the NBA’s record book.

It’s the single dagger in their career, next from the team they’ve thrown their weight over and over again, like Harden’s MVP, some scoring titles, and Beard. To the team.

He is an extraordinary aggressive talent.

So it’s also historically disappointing that, like tonight, there’s a tendency to turn big moments and big games into antitheses that kill his attacks on his better self and take victory, at least so far.

Harden laid eggs on Thursday night in the midst of its history. Huge thing. His brutal box score at night isn’t a complete story: 17 3 shots and -30 box scores plus or minus 11 points look bad enough.

The deeper truth is that Harden got worse early in the game. His complete terribleness helped Nets end up with a 40-23 lead in the first quarter. The game ended early, with Harden’s confidence and stride. This was a will battle between the two proud teams, and Harden disappeared before entering the third act.

Harden is great. The records he set speak for themselves. Harden is also a very big post-season question mark-or, less optimistic, a waiting mine.

Regaining Round 7 of the Western Conference Finals in 2018 Houston RocketsThen, led by Harden, he turned the lead of the 3-2 series into an ugly defeat. Round 7 was when Harden became 12 out of 12 and 2 out of 13 and was afraid to panic and spread the defeat to the entire team like a regular assist.

That night, “led” by Harden, Houston missed 27 consecutive three-pointers at one point. Twenty seven.Houston went home Warriors I went to the title.

Harden supporters protest: I hate it! He is too good at this ridicule and is noteworthy.

Harden will say: See! He did it against the net again, that pattern that disappears when the moment gets too big.

Both views have truth to them, as both Hardens attended against Brooklyn on Thursday night. A historically great player, and the man, is a very great person who can crash like crazy and take his team.

All of this has far more context and nuances than a single game. There is the fact that the Sixers have won five straight games before the Nets match since Harden’s arrival. The reality is that Brooklyn made a suffocating defense on Thursday. They have been urged to emulate enough often to claim that they are more than emotional anomalies. The very important reality is that the Sixers are still in a good position in the crowded Eastern Conference rankings while the net stays in its dangerous, coin-toss play-in purgatory.

Yes, the truth is that it was just one game.

But Harden-a record great, man from Thursday night who couldn’t handle that radical atmosphere-has months and numbers in a peculiar reality that fuses these two parts into one. You will face years ahead.

He’s the guy who wins the championship and solidifies his greatness in a really important way, or else he’s the man who sets the record and is dazzled by the statistics-all need to be done at the same time. It fails to be.

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