3 key matchups in Philadelphia 76ers-Miami Heat series: James Harden vs. Jimmy Butler
While James Harden and Jimmy Butler didn’t guard each other much in Game 1, they are the two best players on their respective teams. Neither player performed as such in the first matchup of this series.
Harden finished with just 16 points, nine rebounds, and five assists, whereas Butler had 15 points, nine rebounds, and three assists. Both All-Star level players shot poorly from the floor. It’s not surprising considering the age of each player, as well as the overall wear and tear they’ve experienced this season.
Butler had a tough time guarding Harris in Game 1 and if Miami doesn’t change their strategy then the Sixers need to continue to attack that matchup. Wearing him down on the defensive end should be the goal for the 76ers as it should have an impact on his offensive production.
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For Harden he needs to be more aggressive attacking, that doesn’t necessarily mean taking more shots, but it could look like 10 or more assists in a single game. Harden needs to outperform Butler and the argument could be made that he didn’t in Game 1.
If the Philadelphia 76ers want a chance to win this series, they need more from Harden, Harris, and Maxey moving forward without Embiid. If they can get that, then there’s a chance they can win Game 2.