Miami Heat Playoffs: Putting The Governor On James Harden At Half

Philadelphia 76ers guard James Harden (1) controls the ball around Miami Heat guard Victor Oladipo (4)(Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports)
Philadelphia 76ers guard James Harden (1) controls the ball around Miami Heat guard Victor Oladipo (4)(Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Miami Heat went up 2-0 in their second-round NBA playoff series on Wednesday night in their house, the FTX Arena. Finishing the Philadelphia 76ers off in the second half, the Miami Heat didn’t have as much work to do in Game 2 as they did in Game 1.

Going on a blitz to start Game 1, getting out to a double-digit lead early in the contest, they would allow the 6ers to close the gap before the half, even taking a one-point lead into the half before falling off in the remainder of the game. Though it looked like they might be in for a similar fate Wednesday, the Miami Heat would, as they often do, learn from their mistakes.

Getting out to a good lead after the first period, while the 76ers operated in a more team-oriented manner to open the contest, the Miami Heat would find themselves at the mercy of James Harden to close the second period.

Going on a flurry of scoring near the end of the second period, you thought you may get a dose of the Houston James Harden based on the way he closed that quarter. That was it though.

The Miami Heat are known for hard work and defense. They really aren’t playing about those two things in their 76ers series and James Harden can testify.

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If you really want to talk about hitting the NOS too early, Nitros Oxide in street racing, that would be James Harden’s Game 2 showing. Oh, what does that mean, you say?

Let us be clear about it. James Harden would finish the first half of Game 2 with a tally of 16 points at the halfway point of the contest.

But, he would only finish with 20 points, total, in the entirety of the game. That’s only four points in the remaining 24 minutes of action.

As has been a theme since his trade to Philly, really for a couple of years or so now, that’s a far cry from the guy who once averaged almost 30 or more points per game for six straight seasons, topping out at 36.1 points per game in 2018-19 and following that up with 34.3 points per game in 2019-20.

Yes, he didn’t have all of his big guns on the floor, with Joel Embiid still down. Yes, Tyrese Maxey exploded in the second half, taking the ball out of Harden’s hands and finishing the game with 34 of his own.

However, James Harden is the second-best player on the team and the best with Embiid out. He can’t have games or showings like that if they want to win.

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They won’t though. So, it totally makes sense, not as long as the Miami Heat can keep the governor on the man that was once the NBA version of The Fast And The Furious.