By: Brandon Silva
The 76ers are 2-0 in the James Harden and Joel Embiid era. The 76ers have looked absolutely unbeatable in the 2 games the duo, trio if you include Tyrese Maxey, have played together. The first game they played together was in Minnesota and they left no doubt leaving with a 31 point win. The big 3 totaled 89 points in this game. They then went into the garden and beat the Knicks by 16. The Knicks were able to hang around until the 4th quarter when the 76ers took off. Another game and another 87 points for the big three. Harden notched his first triple-double for his new team that included 16 assists. Embiid has said that he has never felt more wide open than he has been since James’ addition. Harden does a great job of opening up the floor and Embiid can no longer be double-teamed consistently. The player that has benefitted the most from this is Tyrese Maxey. The quick sophomore guard has been able to flourish in the transition game and off the ball. Instead of setting up the transition, he’s the one that’s been benefiting from it. Tobias Harris is now the 4th option on this team. This is a competitive defensive team as well and the charge is led by the 5th starter Matisse Thybulle. This 76ers team will have a knack for getting to the line unlike any team in NBA history. This was already seen as they went to the line 44 times against New York and 37 of those coming from Embiid and Harden. The 76ers head home and will take on the Knicks again tonight. They are favored by a whopping 10.5 points in their 2nd straight against New York. Normally I’d say this is way too big of a spread, but not tonight. The 76ers will win this game comfortably against my struggling Knicks just as they have in 16 of the last 18 games played between the two.
The 76ers currently have the 5th best odds in the league to win the championship at +700. This is a legit bet that I would be willing to place a future on. James Harden played some of the best basketball of his career when he played with a good big man, Clint Capela. Now he plays with the best big in the league who can stretch the floor on his own. This is the most dangerous duo the league currently has and I will be expecting the 76ers to make a deep playoff run. This team will go as far as Harden takes them as he looks to take a trip to his first NBA Finals appearance. They are currently sitting at 3rd in the conference behind Miami and Chicago. I believe that the only direction for this team is up. They will need to blend and mesh to full capacity sooner rather than later due to the playoffs approaching. If this team can continue to finish the season the same way they’ve played in their past 2 games, they will have an infinite ceiling. The new-look 76ers are legit title contenders at this point and should be looked upon as the real threat of the East.