The 76ers endured disappointment in the postseason last year but James Harden is adamant they are a different team and hungry for a title this season.
Mid 2021-22 Philly traded for Harden and they had a second-round playoff exit thanks to Miami but apart from that, the team was in shambles with injuries and chemistry issues.
Some thought the guard may have been washed but this season his team is certainly much improved and up for a championship battle.
Harden and heavy MVP favorite Joel Embiid have combined well, with Harden averaging 21 points, 10.8 assists and 6.0 rebounds in 51 games with Embiid this regular season.
Now with a successful regular season behind them, Harden believes the postseason is theirs for the taking, starting with Round 1 against the Nets.
“This year we had a full year under our belts’ Harden said per Lauren Rosen. “We know what to expect. We know what works, we know what doesn’t work. We know what our strengths are. We’re trying to get to those strengths as much as possible.”
From the beginning of March until the season finale, the 33-year-old missed eight games due to achilles soreness, including the final two of the season but Sixers coach Doc Rivers said the rest was just what Harden needed.
“Probably a lot,” said Rivers when asked how much the time off benefitted his 10-time All-Star. “I don’t know, I think he feels good and pretty healthy coming into the week anyway. Getting all of those days off, but definitely, I think everyone health-wise feels good, and that’s a good thing for us.”
Round 1 of the Eastern Conference playoffs game between the Nets and Sixers will take place on Saturday April 15 at Wells Fargo Center.