PHILADELPHIA–The Philadelphia 76ers had a late chance at home against the rival Toronto Raptors. After two missed free throws by rookie Scottie Barnes, the Sixers trailed 90-88 with 7.2 seconds left. At that point, it was time for James Harden to prove why Philadelphia went out and acquired him.
It seemed like a privileged moment for him to step up and get ahead for his new team, but when he handled the paint, he was called for an offensive foul that later became a flagrant-1 foul. The Raptors took advantage and won 93-88.
It was a fitting end to a night in which the Sixers saw a 16-point first-half lead evaporate rather quickly and only scored 51 points in the final three quarters after scoring 37 in the first 12 minutes. Harden finished with 17 points, nine rebounds and eight assists, but he also had six turnovers on the night.
James Harden reacts
“They said it was obvious, but you know me. I don’t know any other way to go up. It is what it is, but for me personally, I have to play better. As for turnovers, some of them were sloppy. I just help rebounding, just little things that I can control, I have to do a better job with that and I’ll move on, but overall it’s a weird game. It started really well and then it got stuck for some reason, so I think we have to do a really good job of trying to keep our pace for 48 minutes.”
“I thought it was an offensive foul. They (the Raptors) got exhausted and came to try to take the ball out of his hands, so give them credit. It’s tough because James has to do it, you have to accept it, so it wouldn’t have mattered one way or the other unless they had called a foul.”
“I think his elbow, I don’t know. Honestly, I don’t know. I could only see looking at the screen, so I thought I saw his elbow hit her face. I don’t think it was intentional, I don’t know, but I guess that’s the rule. If an elbow hits the face, then it’s flagrantly automatic. I’m not really aware of the rules on that, so I can’t really talk much about it.”