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James Harden Slammed by Fans for Lazy Effort in 76ers' Season-Ending Loss to Heat

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVMay 13, 2022

David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images

The Philadelphia 76ers made this season championship-or-bust when they landed James Harden in the trade that sent Ben Simmons to the Brooklyn Nets.

Harden must have missed the memo.

Philadelphia's season went up in smoke Thursday with a 99-90 home loss to the Miami Heat in Game 6 of their Eastern Conference Semifinals series. While Joel Embiid shot just 7-of-24 from the field while playing with a torn thumb ligament and a mask because of an orbital fracture, it was Harden who drew the fans' ire.

The 10-time All-Star and 2017-18 MVP is supposed to be the type of franchise playmaker who can elevate his game when Danny Green was lost to a knee injury and Embiid was battling through multiple ailments, but he attempted a mere two shots in the entire second half, was lackadaisical on defense and didn't seem to have much interest in moving away from the ball:

Mike O'Connor @MOConnor_NBA

One of the bigger takeaways from this series is just how noticeably better Jimmy Butler is than James Harden at this point.

Michael K-B @therealmikekb

No way in hell the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Sixers?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Sixers</a> should sign Harden to anything close to a max extension this summer.

Raheem Palmer @iamrahstradamus

Honestly if Joel Embiid demanded a trade, I’d totally understand. He deserves a lot better than this 76ers team.

Chris Herring @Herring_NBA

Harden really isn’t boxing out a soul tonight

Rap Game Vader Johan. @GeeDee215

Harden a non-entity in an elimination game

Bonta Hill @BontaHill

James Harden going out like this in another elimination game is sad.

Pat Gallen @PatGallenCBS3

Harden walks up the court on offense, lightly jogs back on defense in a 13 point game. OK.

Spike Eskin @SpikeEskin

Wonder if Harden is going to come out for the second half.

Olden Polynice @OldenPolynice1

James Harden is the most unengaged, uncaring player I’ve seen in sports.. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/OPSAYS?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#OPSAYS</a>

Josh Eberley 🇨🇦 @JoshEberley

Harden just watching this game happen, out there running, totally disengaged.

Chris Mannix @SIChrisMannix

James Harden has taken fewer shots than all of Philly’s starters but Danny Green — and Green played three minutes before leaving with a knee injury. Harden has taken one more shot than Shake Milton.

Tony Jones @Tjonesonthenba

The Sixers moved heaven and earth to acquire James Harden because Ben Simmons wouldn’t shoot the ball with the season on the line, only for Harden not to shoot the ball with the season on the line…cold world, man

Jared Wade @Jared_Wade

James Harden, even at his peak, appears to play with the urgency of a man filing a tax return. It's mostly just his demeanor, but it's easy to see why people question his passion for this. Embiid is in shambles and he is just shuffling around the court as the season slips away.

FanDuel Sportsbook @FDSportsbook

The James Harden we got tonight: <a href="https://t.co/p51KsrWgtc">pic.twitter.com/p51KsrWgtc</a>

Spike Eskin @SpikeEskin

James Harden should be embarrassed. Embiid is out there with a torn thumb and a broken face battling for position while Harden stares at him and waits.

Josh Eberley 🇨🇦 @JoshEberley

Harden hasn’t moved from the top right side of the floor on offense in six possessions, reaching without moving his feet on D every play.

Tom Haberstroh @tomhaberstroh

Tyrese Maxey hustling back in transition defense two plays in a row while a fumbling James Harden barely moves. Big yikes.

Frank Isola @TheFrankIsola

What team will James Harden want to be traded to next?

DraftKings Sportsbook @DKSportsbook

Two guys who didn't show up for the 76ers tonight <a href="https://t.co/3hxp1SZ012">pic.twitter.com/3hxp1SZ012</a>

That a clearly limited Embiid was diving on the ground and playing to the level of exhaustion only exacerbated the reaction to Harden.

Max Strus (20 points, 11 rebounds and five assists) and Jimmy Butler (32 points and eight boards) led the way on the other side for the Heat, who will face the winner of the series between the Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals.

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