NBA: Joel Embiid excited to team up with James Harden at 76ers
Joel Embiid said he is excited to play with “one of the best players in the league” as James Harden joins the Philadelphia 76ers.
Embiid poured in 25 points and 19 rebounds to over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday, where he recorded his 22nd straight game with at least 25 points. He also had five blocks and four assists.
Philadelphia played their first game since making a blockbuster trade with the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday that saw former league MVP Harden join his third team in the last two years.
Philadelphia sent Australia’s Ben Simmons, Andre Drummond, Seth Curry and two first-round draft picks to the Nets for Harden and Paul Millsap.
Since the players haven’t completed their physicals, the 76ers played without all five, leaving them short-handed. Simmons has yet to play in a game this season.
“It sucks to lose some of my teammates. Seth did such a great job for us.
“But James Harden is one of the best players in the league. It is pretty exciting. You add someone like that and your chances to win the championship are even bigger. I am excited to get on with it,” said Embiid.
Tyrese Maxey added 24 points and Tobias Harris contributed 17 points and 11 rebounds in the win. Matisse Thybulle added 10 points.
Derrick Favors led the Thunder with 16 points while Luguentz Dort and Aleksej Pokusevski added 15 each.
Darius Bazley had 14 points and 15 rebounds as Oklahoma City lost their fourth straight.
Embiid scored 11 points in the third quarter as the 76ers led 77-61 going into the fourth.
‘WE LOVE OUR GUYS’
After a 9-2 run, the Thunder got within 87-75 halfway through the fourth.
Theo Maledon hit a three-pointer with 2:41 remaining and the Thunder trailed 88-82. But Harris responded with a three pointer of his own and Maxey made a layup to extend the lead to 11 points.
Head coach Mark Daigneault said he was pleased the Thunder did not make a lot of deals at the trade deadline.
“We love our guys. We really like our team,” he said. “We like the direction we’re headed. We’re obviously early in the process. We have a lot of confidence in not only the guys we have right now, but where we’re going.”