James Harden had just hit a stepback 3-pointer while being fouled, a move seen countless times from the 10-time All-Star and 2018 MVP. Joel Embiid, his new teammate, raised both hands and met up with Harden at midcourt for a hug.
Philadelphia liked seeing Harden’s 3-and-ones finally help the 76ers, and they enjoyed the first exposure of general manager Daryl Morey’s experiment to put the two stars together.
Harden had 27 points, 12 assists and eight rebounds in his 76ers debut, Joel Embiid added 34 points and 10 rebounds and Philadelphia routed the Minnesota Timberwolves 133-102 on Friday night.
“We're unselfish, we just want to win,” Harden said. “We've got guys, from top to bottom, that it feels that way on the court. Great things are going to happen more times than not. My job is to come in and add to each individual on this team."
The wait proved worth it after Harden missed his first two games with the 76ers following the trade from Brooklyn with a hamstring injury. The results were promising, particularly where Embiid and Harden thrive — at the free-throw line.
Embiid, who had 21 free throws in a double-overtime loss to Minnesota in November, was 11 of 13 from the line. Harden was 8 of 9 as the 76ers went 30 of 36 overall.
The 76ers have won four of five.
The 76ers used a 15-0 run to take a 16-6 lead and never trailed again.