NBA

Harden joins 'rare company' with joint 76ers franchise record 21-assist triple-double

By Sports Desk December 24, 2022

James Harden was left blown away after joining "rare company" by matching the Philadelphia 76ers franchise record of 21 assists in Friday's 119-114 win over the Los Angeles Clippers.

Harden joined Wilt Chamberlain and Mo Cheeks with the record, which was a career-high for the former MVP, in a game where the 76ers rallied from a 20-point first-half deficit.

The 33-year-old finished the game with 20 points, 11 rebounds and 21 assists and became the second player in 76ers history with a 20-assist triple-double, joining Chamberlain from 1968 against the Detroit Pistons.

"That's rare company," Harden told reporters. "Mo Cheeks was one of my coaches in OKC and then Wilt, I feel like he has every record.

"Just always and be in the conversation of some of the best basketball players to touch a basketball is a blessing. Hopefully, I can keep going and get more records."

Joel Embiid top scored for the 76ers with 44 points, shooting 18-of-30 from the field with seven rebounds and three assists. Harden regularly fed Embiid points throughout the game.

"I just do what I do," Harden said. "Honestly, I feel really good and just trying to get to that paint and they do a really good job of using their length.

"They're a really long team, they switch, they do a really good job of switching so I tried to press the paint and really try and find matchups that work in our advantage that really make the game easier for all of us and guys knock down shots, Joel did a really good job of getting to his spots. It was a total team effort."

Philadelphia head coach Doc Rivers heaped praise on Harden for sacrificing his scoring game.

"This is a generational scorer that has taken and decided to be a point guard, who still scores, but to be a point guard for this team," Rivers said.

"That's hard to do. A lot of people, most people, can’t do that, or will not do it is a better way of saying it. The fact that he is willingly doing it, running the team, organizing us, is huge for us."

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