James Harden lives up to the hype in Philadelphia debut

After a night in which James Harden and the Philadelphia 76ers couldn’t have played better together, beating the Minnesota Timberwolves 133-102 in his debut with his new team, the superstar guard aimed the suggestion he is a bad teammate.

“I don’t know why,” Harden said. “That’s the media that says that. I feel like I’m one of the best teammates that the NBA has seen, on the court and off the court. Just because the current situation happened, whatever happened, happened, it doesn’t mean I’m a bad teammate. Me personally, I feel like I just needed to do what’s best for my career and help myself be happy.”

Harden looked delighted on the floor Friday night, finishing with 27 points, eight rebounds, and 12 assists to become the first player with at least 25 points and 12 assists in his first game with three different teams.

James Harden

It was a dream debut for Harden and the 76ers (36-23), who did what they wanted to the Timberwolves (32-29). They blew the game open in the second half with crisp passing, a steady dose of Harden and Joel Embiid pick-and-rolls, and the Sixers hitting 19 of 39 shots from behind the 3-point line, thanks to creating so many wide-open looks.

Friday night’s win marked just the first of 24 games in a sprint to the end of the regular season for Philadelphia. But it was a dream debut for Harden and his new teammates, one that left all of them excited about what lies ahead.

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