In the game between the 76ers and the Heat in G5, the 76ers won the game due to the outbreak of Harden in the second half. At that time, Harden's performance was very aggressive, which made fans and teammates think that this state could continue until the next time. In the G6 game, Harden's shots were significantly reduced, coupled with not much state and possession of the ball, which directly led to being eliminated by the Heat.
Harden scored 11 points in the first half and 0 points in the second half in this losing game, a performance that has led to many people criticizing him after the game. However, according to the situation on the scene, the responsibility for 0 points in the second half was not entirely on Harden. The coach asked Harden to hand over the ball in the third quarter, which directly led to Harden's low score. But this year, his performance isn't excellent, judging from Harden's playoff numbers. In the 12 games he appeared in, he averaged 18.6 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 8.6 assists while hitting 5.6 goals per game. Those numbers set record lows, and it's unmatched for a star-making $40 million a year. Even if he's playing the point guard role now, that's not a statistic that many people in the league can do.
The most significant factor behind Harden's sluggish performance is psychological. As a superstar, he can't fault it technically. But he didn't believe in himself at critical moments and didn't dare to shoot, which was disappointing. It can be seen from the interview with reporters after the game that Harden still wants to stay with the 76ers next season. Still, with his current performance, if he does not take the initiative to reduce his salary, the 76ers may not be able to continue to agree. The team not only wants to win the championship but, more importantly, make a profit. Harden is currently overpaid, and his performance on the court is not good. If he is unwilling to reduce his salary and renew his contract, it will be difficult for the team to keep him.
Why didn't we see Harden and Embiid play together in this game?
There is speculation that there is some conflict between Harden and Embiid. Another theory is that the coach is not satisfied with Harden's performance, which directly reduces Harden's chances of holding the ball. From previous experience, it can be seen that most of the time, Harden has the ball, he does not take a lot of shots, and some do not dare to take a picture. This will waste a lot of scoring opportunities. It is better to reduce Harden holding the ball. Time gives other people who dare to shoot more opportunities.
Embiid also expressed his dissatisfaction with Harden in an interview after the game, believing that after he came to the 76ers, everyone expected him to perform in the Rocket period. Still, the actual situation was far from everyone's expectations. From an objective point of view, Embiid's practice of complaining about his teammates after losing a game is not very good. Basketball is a team sport. Only when everyone on the team does their job well can the team win. Embiid should also be looking for his problems, not just complaining about what his teammates aren't doing.
Now that the 76ers have completely ended their playoff journey, no one can say what will happen to the team next. Harden is facing a lot of professional difficulties. If he can't overcome the current challenges, his value will be significantly reduced. It will be a lot less, and it will likely directly affect his rating in NBA 2K23.