James Harden

James Harden sat on the bench watching the Philadelphia 76ers on defense against the Denver Nuggets Saturday when the thought hit him: He was supposed to be in the game.

Harden leaped off the bench and took two steps onto the court — where he was promptly nailed in the head by a pass from 76ers guard Bones Hyland.

Officials assessed a technical foul, and NBA highlight video editors had their clip for one of the wackiest plays of the year. The play was oddly reminiscent of the faux food-delivery driver who walked on the court earlier this week during an NCAA basketball game, only Harden didn’t have a bag of food.

The NBA world reacted as you’d expect, with a ton of laughing emojis and good-natured ribbing of Harden’s boneheaded play.

Milwaukee Bucks center Serge Ibaka asked, “My brother! @JHarden13 what are you doing?”

Former NBA star Rex Chapman joked, “James Harden’s best defensive effort of all time…”

Harden had the final laugh, however, as the 76ers beat the Nuggets, 126-119. The 10-time All-Star and former MVP had a great game, with 17 points and 13 assists. As NBA analyst Jackson Frank noted on Twitter, “The Sixers are 20-5 with the NBA’s best offense since James Harden returned. Offense has won in a variety of ways and withstood a bunch of different coverages. As good as it gets around the league offensively this season.”

[Complex Sports]

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.