Stephen A. Smith Warns James Harden About the Dangers of Partying in Philly

James Harden‘s arrival to the Philadelphia 76ers shifted the franchise toward strong NBA title expectations. The star guard is one of the game’s top talents, making his pairing alongside Joel Embiid a promising duo that could lead the 76ers to the promised land.

Philadelphia faltered in their first big test last week against the Brooklyn Nets, notably featuring Harden posting a subpar performance. However, the 10-time All-Star’s actions after the game led Stephen A. Smith to air a firm warning.

James Harden struggles in 76ers’ blowout loss to Nets

Philadelphia 76ers guard James Harden dribbles the ball up the court against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
76ers guard Jame Harden dribbles the ball up the court. | Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Since the Nets and 76ers engaged in the blockbuster trade that sent James Harden to Philadelphia and Ben Simmons to Brooklyn, that circled last Thursday’s matchup on the schedule.

The contest marked the first time the teams faced each other after the massive move. Although Simmons didn’t play, his presence set the atmosphere as the 76ers crowd booed him viciously. The vibe before the game felt like a potential playoff matchup.

However, the Nets quickly took the air out of the building after a blazing hot first-quarter start, setting the tempo for a blowout 129-100 loss. Philadelphia had no answer defensively, while their offense couldn’t keep up with Brooklyn’s balanced scoring. Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and Seth Curry each scored north of 20 points, combining for 71 points.

Joel Embiid put up a strong double-double outing with 27 points and 12 rebounds, but Harden stumbled in the spotlight. He recorded only 11 points on an atrocious 3-of-17 shooting with four turnovers to five assists. Throughout the contest, the star guard was a non-factor, placing significant blame on his shoulders for the lopsided loss.

Beyond that, his actions after the game caught Stephen A. Smith’s attention enough to issue a stern warning.

Stephen A. Smith warns James Harden about partying in Philly

The tough loss didn’t sway Harden away from venturing into the nightlife as he reportedly went to a birthday party on Thursday night with rappers Lil Baby and Travis Scott.

Harden’s actions aren’t surprising since he’s developed a strong reputation for partying off the court. However, Stephen A. Smith, who previously covered the 76ers for more than a decade with the Philadelphia Inquirer, issued a strong message to the 10-time All-Star.

“I know this city. They love you,” Smith said on ESPN’s NBA Countdown on Sunday. “They appreciate the fact that you are not Ben Simmons, but make no mistake when you play like you played the other night, you can not be seen out partying that night like it meant no big deal to you because the city, I can assure you, it was a big deal to them and be careful James Harden be very, very careful

The 76ers possess one of the toughest fan bases who aren’t afraid to boo or yell at their own players’ shortcomings. If the team continues to falter in big games, especially the playoffs, the die-hard fans won’t hesitate to vocalize their true feelings toward Harden at home games.

Things remain quite fresh, but Harden could quickly be on the receiving end of plenty of boos and much more if the 76ers don’t take care of business on the court.

76ers must contend for an NBA title

James Harden is free to choose what he wants to do off the court, but Smith’s remarks underline the increased championship pressure on the 76ers.

Philadelphia finally possesses another bonafide star player who can provide elite offensive production next to Embiid. The fancy numbers in the regular season are enticing, but the fan base wants a team that can contend for an NBA title and not bow out to another disappointing early playoff exit.

Harden won’t have much time to build strong chemistry with his new teammates, but his arrival shifts the expectations into high gear. He and Embiid are certainly talented enough to lead the franchise toward a deep playoff run.

Time will tell if the pairing has what it takes to lift the 76ers toward the ultimate goal.

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