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NBA Twitter Raves About James Harden's Clutch Play as 76ers Beat Ben Simmons, Nets

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 26, 2023

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 25: James Harden #1 of the Philadelphia 76ers celebrates a play during the game against the Brooklyn Nets on January 25, 2023 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2023 NBAE (Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images)
David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images

The Philadelphia 76ers are still on a roll thanks to James Harden's clutch play.

Philadelphia improved to 31-16 and extended its winning streak to six with a 137-133 victory over the Brooklyn Nets in Wednesday's potential playoff preview at Wells Fargo Center. It nearly blew a 17-point lead in the second half, but the 10-time All-Star took over with a number of game-swinging plays down the stretch to provide just enough firepower to escape with a win.

He connected on back-to-back step-back three-pointers in the final four minutes after Seth Curry tied it with a triple, stripped Kyrie Irving on the ensuing possession, and converted a layup to push the lead to four in the final 30 seconds.

Harden drew plenty of praise for his efforts on social media as a result:

NBA @NBA

Back-to-back Beard triples ‼️<br><br>Sixers lead by 6 with 2:17 to go on ESPN! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NBARivalsWeek?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NBARivalsWeek</a> <a href="https://t.co/hQKfmPhrPm">pic.twitter.com/hQKfmPhrPm</a>

Justin Termine @TermineRadio

Great effort by the Nets.<br><br>But Harden hit three huge shots down the stretch, while Ben Simmons didn't even play.<br><br>They were traded for each other--- &amp; that tells you everything you need to know about who got the best end of the deal.

Dan Devine @YourManDevine

Well, that's a pretty cool few trips for Harden.

ESPN @espn

Harden with the dime through Simmons' legs 🔥 <a href="https://t.co/NwbWLl2Ukt">pic.twitter.com/NwbWLl2Ukt</a>

Rich Hofmann @rich_hofmann

Harden step-backs bailing out some pretty garbage zone offense late.

ian karmel @IanKarmel

Nobody is better in big situations than James Harden, and that's been true his entire career.

Aidan Doc🧸 @AidanDoc_

James Harden in the clutch this year has been so good, not talked about enough

Adam Aaronson @SixersAdam

Well, back-to-back Harden step-back threes is one way to get the momentum back

‎ً @HardenFinalsMVP

BACK TO BACK SHOTS BY JAMES EDWARD HARDEN!!!

Josh Reynolds @JoshReynolds24

James Harden taking over the game in crunch time while Ben Simmons watched from the bench was something I didn't know how badly I needed to see until tonight

It was an emotional contest with the crowd booing Ben Simmons whenever he had the ball, trash-talking on both sides and seven technical fouls. It was also defense optional for the first quarter with both teams pouring in 41 points, but the 76ers gradually seized control with a balanced effort.

Tyrese Maxey provided a spark off the bench with his three-point shooting, De'Anthony Melton found his stroke from deep, and Joel Embiid continued to attack the basket and go at it with Nic Claxton even after the Nets big man swatted one of his dunk attempts.

Throw in Harden facilitating when defenders collapsed on him, and it seemed to be a straightforward win against a Nets side that was still without Kevin Durant because of a MCL sprain.

Yet Brooklyn came roaring back behind 32 points from Curry and 30 points and 10 assists from Kyrie Irving. Fortunately for the home team, Harden was there to play the hero role just in time.

He will look to do the same Saturday when the 76ers host the Denver Nuggets.