James Harden’s stellar debut with 76ers provides major reason for optimism in Philadelphia

A new era of Philadelphia 76ers basketball began on Friday night, as former MVP and future Hall-of-Famer James Harden debuted for the franchise.

The Sixers traded for Harden — along with Paul Millsap — prior to the trade deadline earlier this month, but his debut was delayed as he continued to recover from a hamstring injury he suffered as a member of the Brooklyn Nets. It finally came against the Timberwolves in Minnesota, and for Sixers fans, it was worth the wait.

You don’t want to take too much from a single game, but Harden’s first game in a Sixers uniform couldn’t have gone any better. In 35 minutes of action, Harden did exactly what we’ve become accustomed to seeing him do for the past decade — score the basketball at an elite level and rack up assists thanks to all of the attention that he draws when he’s on the floor. His play was a big reason the Sixers rolled to a commanding 133-102 victory over a Timberwolves team that already bested the Sixers once this season.

Harden’s numbers — 27 points, 12 assists and eight rebounds — were impressive (and Hardenesque, for lack of a better word) especially given the fact that he was simultaneously playing in his first game in more than three weeks and his first game with an entirely new team.

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