James Harden may not be the same player he was, but he is what the Sixers need.

Tobias HarrisHe would normally have more to share, but he was trying not to let his frustrations get in the way of his ability to swallow an accidental substance. Bam AdebayoIn the second half, the elbow should reach the neck. Philadelphia 76ers‘ 116 to 108 win against the Miami HeatSunday's Game 4 in their best-of-7 Eastern Conference semifinal series.

Harris was able to get right to the bottom of the matter when Harris was asked about the matter. James Harden‘s 31 point night, which included 16 of the Sixers 27 points in the decisive quarter.

Harris spoke in a raspy voice, “What we need him do on a daily basis is what he does.” Harris said, “Just be strong for us and pick up the defense of their play.”

This is James Harden's new vision.

For the Sixers to win, he doesn't have to be his 2018 MVP form.

He doesn’t need to reach the end of the game with a clutch shot or fulfill his box score. He doesn’t even have to take 20 shots which used to be an insufficient number.

Harden only took 18 shots in Game 4. However, it was enough because he assisted or scored 54 of the 98 points (55%) that the Sixers scored while Harden was on the court.

The 32-year old James Harden that the Sixers traded in February for the possibility of forging long-term partnerships, this version, needs to be solid and the offense should be organized based on his defense.

Joel EmbiidThe rest can be done by Harris (24 points, 11 boards). Harris (13 points and four assists). Tyrese MaxeyThe scoring and playmaking gaps can be filled with (18 points, four assists). Danny GreenYou can place the floor (11 points for 3-for-4 shooting starting at 3).

Harden, however, must be the quarterback.

Harris said, “He does an excellent job of evaluating and analyzing the game.” Harris stated, “Of where it is possible for him to make plays, he can take his shots. Tonight, he was a good sport. It was evident that he had the confidence to get downhill first before the 3-ball opened for him.

He sees so many defensive coverages. He is often a zoned player, which makes it hard for him to be very aggressive on offense. When he is in a groove, he can do anything. [Sunday night]We just need to get him the ball, and then keep going.”

Harden has been under pressure from the Heat throughout this series, as they have denied him the freedom to operate, particularly when Embiid doesn't play.

Embiid was unable to play in the second game due to a concussion. Miami surrounded Harden with multiple defenders and threw a zone at Harden to disrupt the Sixers' offense.

Second Spectrum reports that Harden was the closest defender at 3.7 feet in Game 1. It was 3.1 feet in Game 2, the closest defender to Harden in any of his previous three seasons.

The difference was even more evident in Game 3, when Embiid was back in the lineup. Miami provided Embiid with a court. Embiid was just 2.6 inches away, and he was 3.7 feet tall.

Harden cannot be taken from space. Former Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni, and the current general manager Daryl Morey tried hard to create an empire in Houston around the radical and unabashed creation space for Harden. They almost succeeded if it wasn't for the dynastic Golden State WarriorsThe same era, or Chris Paul‘s injured hamstring.

Morey, who was the team's president for basketball operations, had a similar vision for the Sixers. He began trying to trade Harden for the Sixers essentially as soon as he got the job in fall 2020.

It would be great if he could make a roster to spread the floor around Harden. But with Embiid as their all-world co-star there is no telling what kind offensive juggernaut they might become.

However, Harden's current abilities and age are evident in his short time here in Philadelphia. He can't seem to defy time or space as well as he did in the past, regardless of how many steps he has lost.

Harden's inability of getting by defenders has been highlighted by the Heat. In Game 4, however, he changed the script.

He began shooting 3-pointers to draw defenders closer to the basket. He attacked Miami's double-teams, zone defenses, and triple-teams. All of these actions created space, which was not possible before.

Second Spectrum tracking data shows that Harden separated from Embiid by 3.6 feet on Sunday, and 5.1 feet off the floor with Embiid.

Harden and Embiid took four of five 3-pointers off the floor, which partly explains why he had so many space. He made six of the 10 3 pointers he attempted on the night after shooting 21% from 3 in his first three games.

Some of this is simply hitting the shots, while others are missing them. Harden says space is the most important thing. He can control a game when he has it, whether he or the team creates it. If he doesn't have it, he can look lost and frustrated.

Sunday was the Harden that the Sixers had been hoping for, even though he isn't quite the Harden of his past. Because he can read the floor and regulate the game, just like he did in Game 4 with the Sixers, the Sixers appear to be a team that can defeat anyone.

“Since he arrived, he's been adapting based on our needs,” Embiid explained. “Whether it's playmaking, or tonight — just going out and getting a bucket on the basis of how they were protecting everyone else. Making difficult shots. This is what he has done all his life.”

Harden reduced his contribution to Sunday's win to the series' struggles.

Harden grinned, “Nothing really has changed.” “I made some shots.”

Then he spoke something that made his entire journey with the Sixers and NBA middle-age into perspective.

Harden said, “We're still quite a new team.” “We are only two months into the series. We are finally getting settled into the series. We discovered some amazing things that will work tonight.

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