James Harden Apr 20, 2023; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Philadelphia 76ers guard James Harden (1) reacts after a call during game three of the 2023 NBA playoffs against the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia 76ers imploded down the stretch Thursday night and lost Game 6, and James Harden had a bad game.

There’s a strong correlation, obviously, between Harden’s bad games and 76ers losses in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

Yet after a 95-86 loss to the Boston Celtics, a game in which Harden shot 4-of-16 from the field, missing all six 3-point attempts, the 10-time All-Star defended his play. He pointed the finger at another factor — the referees.

“Tonight was frustrating because … I’m number one in fouls that don’t get called,” Harden said (via The Philadelphia Inquirer). “I’m not going to look at my shooting percentage. I did a lot of good things offensively.”

Harden says that officials admitted to him at halftime they missed calls. He may be the NBA career leader in blaming refs for missing calls on him, and he’s often right. There are actually several videos on the internet showing officials missing blatant fouls committed against Harden.

But Harden has to put that aside and take responsibility for not playing well in Game 6.

Harden has averaged 34.7 points per game in Philadelphia’s three wins in this series. He has averaged 15 points (hitting 20.4% from the field) in the three losses. Incredibly, he’s hit only 2-of-19 3-pointers in those three games.

Which Harden will show up for Game 7 in Boston Sunday night?

NBA fans and 76ers faithful says Harden needs to step up and stop complaining.

[The Philadelphia Inquirer]

About Arthur Weinstein

Arthur spends his free time traveling around the U.S. to sporting events, state and national parks, and in search of great restaurants off the beaten path.