• Tonight on League Pass: Harden made his Minnesota debut (8 EST, Bass League)
Philadelphia’s official injury report dropped Thursday night with no mention of newly acquired goalkeeper James Harden, meaning he is expected to make his 76th game for the first time in Minnesota on Friday.
Usually a mainstay in Kia Race to the MVP ladder, Harden is worth noting here for just the impact he might have on Kia’s MVP nomination for Sixers big man Joel Embiid, who is still locked in a tight race with Denver’s Nikola Jokic for the top spot. 1 spot with our opening second half of the season.
“Well, I don’t want to push for everything, but the way I’ve been playing speaks for itself, especially with everything we’ve been through, the drama all year long and obviously missing a big chunk, everything Embiid said over the weekend in the league. NBA All-Star.” Hence, [I] I really had to take my game to another level, whether it was offensive, defensive or playmaking. Obviously, I have great teammates who give everything, and that helps a lot.”
Well, Philadelphia added one more in former MVP Harden, who joined the team on Deadline Trade in a deal with Brooklyn that included sending former teammate Ben Simmons to the Nets.
Beard versus operation. pic.twitter.com/wHeMsTZvrK
– Philadelphia Sixers February 25 2022
Keep in mind that Harden hasn’t played since February 2 due to a tight hamstring. However, Embiid expects to build up chemistry quickly with Harden, who should lighten the burden somewhat for the Big Man when attacking.
James Harden was the best player in the league and all that, [won] “I think it would be easy to build that chemistry,” Embiid said. Everyone is on the same page. We are all trying to win a championship. So, that’s the point. I think it’s all just about staying healthy, sitting on the floor and getting together and really playing together.”
Philadelphia set off on that trip Friday night in the center of the target.
The 2018 MVP has averaged 22.5 points, 8.0 rebounds and 10.2 assists in 44 games this season with Brooklyn. His record numbers represent his lowest production since 2012. Harden trained with the team Thursday in Minneapolis, and at this point, it’s unknown if the star guard will return to MVP level once he hits the ground running with Embiid, who entered Thursday night’s games as the player. League top scorer.
As we reset the Kia Race to the MVP ladder emerging from the All-Star break, you’ll see one change from the top five, spurred in part by news that Chris Paul will be missing out on a significant amount of time with An avulsion fracture of his right thumbthe staggering DeMar DeRozan recently ruptured games with a score of 35 or more on a 50% or better shot.
Derosan bless us Another vintage performance In Thursday’s victory over Atlanta, which attracted the attention of many of his peers such as Donovan MitchellAnd the Pee And the hardening. DeRozan jumped five places to fourth from #9, while Jokic maintained his razor-thin edge over the surging Embiid.
And now, the top five places this week in the 2021-22 Kia race to the best player ladder:
1. Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets
last order: No. 1
Season stats: 26.0 ppg, 13.8 rpg, 7.9 apg
Djokic put in 25 points to score 12 rebounds and nine assists in Denver win over sacramento And before handing the match ball to Michael Mallon, Thursday, to celebrate 300 timesy victory. The Nuggets have won four consecutive games, with Jokic collecting 15 or more rebounds in four of his last five games, while scoring 25 or more points in four consecutive games. Embiid spoke about what he’s been through this season, but he hasn’t faced the same adversities as the tournament’s best player. Four Nuggets sat out Thursday’s game, and they’ve been missing two rookies almost all season.
2. Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers
last order: Number 2
Season stats: 29.6 ppg, 11.2 rpg, 4.5 apg
Embiid numbers have jumped in every major stat category since the last release of the Kia Race to the MVP Ladder, and we’re just waiting to see how the addition of the Harden affects the already brutal production. Sixers coach Doc Rivers plans to keep at least two players between Embiid, Harden, Tyrese Maxey and Tobias Harris on the ground at all times to ensure the team has consistent firepower at the end of the attack. This is a frightening display for opponents during the second half of the season. Embiid has scored 40 or more points in two of his last three games at the start of the All-Star break.
3. Giannis Antikonmo, Milwaukee Bucks
last order: Number 3
Season stats: 29.4 ppg, 11.2 rpg, 6.0 apg
The guy scored 82 points in 30 shots in his last two games on the All-Star Break, including 50 the day after Valentine’s Day. His 21 field goal attempts ranked him the fourth lowest in a 50-point game in NBA history. The Bucks won’t open the second half of their season until Saturday, when they host the Brooklyn Nets (8:30 ET, ABC). This means Antetokounmpo should be well rested after he hit the ground running hard at the All-Star Game.
4. DeMar DeRozan, Chicago Bulls
last order: number 9
Season stats: 28.3 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 5.1 apg
We obviously ranked DeRozan very low in our last Kia race to the MVP ladder two weeks ago. But we can’t ignore the fact that last week DeRozan became the first player in league history to score 35 points or more and shoot 50% or better for it. Seventh game in a row, only to extend that streak (the greatest bull of all time, Michael Jordan, never accomplished that feat) to eight Thursday against the Hawks. Chicago captured Sixth consecutive win It hosts Memphis on Saturday before hitting the road for games in Miami and Atlanta.
5. Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
last order: no 5
Season stats: 25.7 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 6.5 apg
Shooting numbers remain low by Curry’s standards. He achieved 42.8% field goals and 37.8% depth in 54 competitions before the All-Star break. Then he showed us all during the All-Star Game to never count the real shooter (Carrie holes NBA record 16 three-pointers). In his first game after the break, Curry called on 5 of 11 from the field and 2 of 7 from range in the win over Portland. But the rule of thumb boosted his playmaking, as he hit 14 assists in the game, just twice less than the Trail Blazers’ assist produced by a team.
the following five:
6. Devin Booker and the Phoenix Suns (Last Ranking: No. 8)
7. Ja Morant, Memphis Grizzlies (last order: T-6)
8. Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks (last order: T-6)
9. Chris Paul, Phoenix Suns (Last Ranking: No. 4)
10. Jimmy Butler, Miami Heat (last ranking: 10)
and five more (in alphabetical order): LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers; Zach Lavigne, Chicago Bulls; Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz; Jason Tatum, Boston Celtics; Karl Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves.
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Michael C. Wright is a senior writer for NBA.com. You can email him hereFind his archive here and follow him Twitter.
The opinions expressed on this page do not necessarily reflect those of the National Basketball Association, its clubs, or Turner Broadcasting.
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