LeBron James became the second player to 38,000 career NBA points before Russell Westbrook's failed final play as the Los Angeles Lakers lost 113-112 to the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday.

With the Sixers leading by one point, Westbrook rebounded after Joel Embiid missed a two-point shot with 16 seconds remaining, opting to advance the ball, rather than take a timeout, before failing to get a clean shot or pass away as the clock expired under defense from Embiid and Georges Niang.

The finish took some gloss off James' significant achievement, reaching the 38,000 career points mark in the first quarter, before finishing the game with 35 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds.

Only one player in NBA history has more career points than James and that is Kareem Abdul-Jabbar with 38,387. James is on track to surpass Abdul-Jabbar next month.

The game was tight throughout, with Embiid top scoring for the Sixers with 35 points on 12-of-21 shooting from the field with two three-pointers. Embiid also had 11 rebounds and four assists. James Harden contributed 24 points, seven rebounds and 13 assists.

Westbrook played 34 minutes of the bench with 20 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists but four turnovers. That marked Westbrook's 198th career triple-double.

Jokic sinks late three to clinch Nugs win

Back-to-back NBA MVP Nikola Jokic landed a step-back three-pointer with 1.2 seconds left to secure the Denver Nuggets a 119-116 victory over the Orlando Magic.

Jokic finished with 17 points, 10 rebounds and 14 assists for his 12th triple-double of the season, with the Nugs clinching their 13th straight home win to remain top of the Western Conference.

Aaron Gordon added 25 points with eight rebounds and five assists, while Jamal Murray delivered 18 points with three three-pointers and seven assists.

Lillard leads Blazers past Mavs missing Doncic

Damian Lillard backed up with 40 points for the Portland Trail Blazers to complete a two-game back-to-back sweep of the Dallas Mavericks, 140-123.

Lillard shot 10-of-17 from the field and four-of-nine from three-point range with six assists for the Blazers, who had lost five in a row prior to the two games against Dallas.

The Mavs rested Luka Doncic after his season-low 15 points in Saturday's game, having starred in Thursday's double overtime win over the Lakers.

The Miami Heat broke the NBA record for most free throws in a game without a miss as they defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder 112-111 at home on Tuesday.

With starters Bam Adebayo, Tyler Herro and Kyle Lowry all out due to various injuries, Jimmy Butler was tasked with leading the offense, and he was aggressive from the jump.

He scored only six of his 17 field goal attempts, but finished with a game-high 35 points after going a perfect 23-of-23 from the free throw line. In doing so, he finished one free throw behind James Harden (24-of-24 in December 2019) for the most in one game without a miss.

Butler was not alone in his marksmanship from the line, with his team-mates also combining to shoot 17-of-17, setting the new team record for 40 free throws without a miss.

The Heat star also added seven rebounds, four assists, four steals and three blocks in a spectacular two-way performance, while Victor Oladipo chipped in 19 points (seven-of-16 shooting) with four rebounds, four assists and two steals off the bench.

For the Thunder, Josh Giddey collected his second triple-double of the season with 18 points (eight-of-18), 15 rebounds and 10 assists.

Miami are now 22-20, and sit eighth in the Eastern Conference.

Embiid and Harden dominate the Pistons

The stars of the Philadelphia 76ers made light work of the visiting Detroit Pistons, with Joel Embiid and James Harden both enjoying big nights in a 147-116 victory.

Embiid had 36 points (12-of-20 shooting), 11 rebounds and two blocks in just 24 minutes, while Harden posted a strong triple-double with 16 points (six-of-seven shooting), 15 assists and 12 rebounds.

The 76ers have won five of their past six outings to improve their record to 25-15, placing them fifth in the East, 3.5 games behind the league-leading Boston Celtics (29-12).

Mitchell heroics not enough for the Cavaliers

Donovan Mitchell was a man on a mission in his first road game against the Utah Jazz since being traded in the offseason, but the Cleveland Cavaliers ultimately went down 116-114.

Mitchell scored a game-high 46 points on 14-of-27 shooting with six assists, five rebounds and three steals, but his team could not stop the duo of Jordan Clarkson and Lauri Markkanen.

Clarkson top-scored for Utah with 32 points on 11-of-19 shooting, while Markkanen continued to build a case for Most Improved Player as he put up 25 points (six-of-18) and 16 rebounds.

Doc Rivers compared James Harden's showing against the Detroit Pistons to something akin to prime Magic Johnson.

Harden finished with 20 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists in a 123-111 win for the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday.

In the process, Harden surpassed 24,000 career regular-season points, becoming the 27th player to hit that landmark.

And Rivers believes Harden deserves to be compared to the very best.

"I hate to you use this example, but when he's playing like this, it's like having a scoring Magic Johnson on the floor," Rivers told reporters. 

"When he runs our team with this kind of pace and he scores and gets assists, we're really good."

The Sixers needed others to step up in the absence of Joel Embiid, and Tyrese Maxey also delivered alongside Harden, scoring 23 points.

"Our defense was pretty good, we took care of the ball and I think everyone competed hard," Maxey said.

"Even someone like Paul Reed comes in and gets nine points and eight offensive rebounds. He plays with so much energy that the other team can't keep up."

Philadelphia are 24-15 for the season and sit fifth in the Eastern Conference, which is propped up by the 11-32 Pistons.

"That's a team playing for a championship and we shot ourselves in the foot," said a frustrated Pistons coach Dwane Casey. 

"We had 22 turnovers – the same number we had in the last game against them. We can't give them points like that."

Kevin Durant went down injured before Royce O'Neale scored the game-winning two-pointer with 3.2 seconds left as the Brooklyn Nets edged the Miami Heat 102-101 on Sunday.

Durant exited late in the third quarter with a right knee issue after Jimmy Butler fell on him, but the Nets did enough without him to improve to 27-13 overall and second spot in the Eastern Conference. Brooklyn have won 18 of their last 20 games.

Butler put the Heat ahead 101-100 with a dunk with 1:12 remaining, but O'Neale had the final say with a putback after Kyrie Irving had missed a 30-foot three-point attempt.

Irving top scored for Brooklyn with 28 points, including six-of-15 from three-point range with six assists, while Nic Claxton contributed strongly again with 13 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks.

Durant managed 17 points on five-of-11 shooting from the field with five rebounds in his 30 minutes on the court.

Butler top-scored for the Heat with 26 points, but shot nine-of-21 from the field with two turnovers, while Tyler Herro finished with 24 points before limping off late.

Bam Adebayo was also limited by a right-hand contusion, scoring 10 points with eight rebounds.

Harden records triple-double in 76ers win

James Harden recorded a triple-double and became the 27th NBA player with 24,000 career points as the Philadelphia 76ers beat the Detroit Pistons 123-111.

Harden finished with 20 points on seven-of-14 shooting, including three-of-five from beyond the arc, 11 rebounds and 11 assists.

Tyrese Maxey also came to the fore for the Joel Embiid-less 76ers, while Pistons guard Killian Hayes had a game-high 26 points, with four three-pointers.

Suns slump to sixth straight loss

The Cleveland Cavaliers consigned the short-handed Phoenix Suns to their sixth straight defeat with a 112-98 victory as Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland scored 22 points each.

Mitchell, who scored a season-high 71 points in last weeks' OT win over the Chicago Bulls, made seven-of-12 from the field, while Garland dished off seven assists in a fine display.

The Suns were missing their backcourt of Chris Paul and Devin Booker but were within one point at three-quarter time before fading.

Duane Washington top scored for Phoenix in 25 minutes off the bench with 25 points including five triples.

Philadelphia 76ers point guard James Harden did not deny the report that he is mulling a potential return to the Houston Rockets while addressing the comments after his side's 119-112 Christmas Day win against the New York Knicks.

The 76ers received terrific performances from both Harden, with 29 points (seven-of-16 shooting) and 13 assists, as well as back-to-back MVP runner-up Joel Embiid, who scored a team-high 35 points (12-of-22) with eight rebounds.

But despite improving their winning streak to eight games, the biggest news from the day was the report from ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski claiming Harden is seriously considering leaving Philadelphia at the end of this season to head back to his former team.

His contract includes a player-option for next season, meaning he can opt out and become an unrestricted free agent.

Harden reportedly has fond memories of his time with the Rockets – where he won three consecutive scoring titles and one league MVP – despite forcing his way out of the franchise just two seasons ago

When asked about the report during his post-game media appearance, Harden made no long-term commitment to the 76ers, simply saying he is "excited" to be in Philadelphia.

"I'm here," he said. "We're playing very well, and I don’t know where that report came from, but I’m excited to be here, and we're playing very well. We're continuing to get better."

Harden is currently leading the NBA in assists at 10.9 per game, and has looked back to his All-NBA level recently, including in Friday's win over the Los Angeles Clippers where his triple-double included a career-high 21 assists.

Philadelphia 76ers star James Harden is considering a return to the Houston Rockets, according to reports.

Harden joined the 76ers in February in a trade from the Brooklyn Nets, just a year after forcing his way out of Houston.

The 33-year-old, 10-time All-Star impressed as Philadelphia made the playoffs, where they were eliminated by the Miami Heat, and he re-signed on a two-year $68.6million deal in July.

However, according to ESPN, Harden is open to moving back to the Rockets should he fail to agree fresh terms with the Sixers after this season is up.

Harden, who spent eight seasons with the Rockets between 2012 and 2021, and was named the NBA's MVP in 2018, has rediscovered something close to his best form in Philadelphia after struggling to settle in Brooklyn.

His 10.9 assists per game leads the NBA, while he has scored 21.4 points per game.

Harden accumulated 20 points, 11 rebounds and 21 assists and became the second player in 76ers history with a 20-assist triple-double in a win over the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday.

The Brooklyn Nets claimed a statement Eastern Conference victory over the Milwaukee Bucks to extend their win streak to eight games with a 118-100 triumph on Friday.

Kevin Durant top scored for the Nets with 24 points along with five rebounds and six assists, while Nic Claxton starred with 19 points, eight rebounds and five assists.

All five Nets' starters reached double-figure scoring, achieving that feat for the sixth time this season. The Nets' eight-game win streak matched the franchise's most since their relocation to Brooklyn a decade ago.

Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 26 points with 13 rebounds and seven assists for the Bucks but did not have a shot in the fourth quarter, with Ben Simmons dulling his output

Simmons finished the game with 12 points, 11 rebounds, eight assists and three steals.

The Nets have surged into contention this month, improving to a 21-12 overall record after a 9-1 December. The Bucks are second in the east with a 22-10 record.

Antetokounmpo hurt his hand in a fall but X-rays revealed no major damage, according to head coach Mike Budenholzer.

Harden matches franchise assists record in 76ers win

James Harden matched the Philadelphia 76ers' franchise record for assists as part of a triple-double in their 119-114 win over the Los Angeles Clippers to sweep a seven-game homestand.

Harden finished the game with 20 points, 11 rebounds and 21 assists, matching Wilt Chamberlain and Mo Cheeks' franchise record for assists, as the 76ers rallied from a 20-point first-half deficit.

Joel Embiid top scored with 44 points with seven rebounds, while Kawhi Leonard continued his improved scoring form with 28 points and five assists for the Clippers.

Doncic scores season-high in Mavs win

Luka Doncic scored a season-high 50 points as the Dallas Mavericks overcame the Houston Rockets 112-106 with the Slovenian adding 17 in the fourth quarter.

Doncic shot 17-of-30 from the field including six three-pointers for his second career 50-point game, with his career best being 51 against the Clippers in February this year.

The Mavs point guard also had eight rebounds and 10 assists, while Jabari Smith Jr top scored for the Rockets with 24 points and 10 rebounds.

The Brooklyn Nets claimed a statement Eastern Conference victory over the Milwaukee Bucks to extend their win streak to eight games with a 118-100 triumph on Friday.

Kevin Durant top scored for the Nets with 24 points along with five rebounds and six assists, while Nic Claxton starred with 19 points, eight rebounds and five assists.

All five Nets' starters reached double-figure scoring, achieving that feat for the sixth time this season. The Nets' eight-game win streak matched the franchise's most since their relocation to Brooklyn a decade ago.

Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 26 points with 13 rebounds and seven assists for the Bucks but did not have a shot in the fourth quarter, with Ben Simmons dulling his output

Simmons finished the game with 12 points, 11 rebounds, eight assists and three steals.

The Nets have surged into contention this month, improving to a 21-12 overall record after a 9-1 December. The Bucks are second in the east with a 22-10 record.

Antetokounmpo hurt his hand in a fall but X-rays revealed no major damage, according to head coach Mike Budenholzer.

Harden matches franchise assists record in 76ers win

James Harden matched the Philadelphia 76ers' franchise record for assists as part of a triple-double in their 119-114 win over the Los Angeles Clippers to sweep a seven-game homestand.

Harden finished the game with 20 points, 11 rebounds and 21 assists, matching Wilt Chamberlain and Mo Cheeks' franchise record for assists, as the 76ers rallied from a 20-point first-half deficit.

Joel Embiid top scored with 44 points with seven rebounds, while Kawhi Leonard continued his improved scoring form with 28 points and five assists for the Clippers.

Doncic scores season-high in Mavs win

Luka Doncic scored a season-high 50 points as the Dallas Mavericks overcame the Houston Rockets 112-106 with the Slovenian adding 17 in the fourth quarter.

Doncic shot 17-of-30 from the field including six three-pointers for his second career 50-point game, with his career best being 51 against the Clippers in February this year.

The Mavs point guard also had eight rebounds and 10 assists, while Jabari Smith Jr top scored for the Rockets with 24 points and 10 rebounds.

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."

The Philadelphia 76ers are beginning to figure things out on the offensive end, scoring at least 123 points for the fourth consecutive game to defeat the Sacramento Kings 123-103 on Tuesday.

Joel Embiid top-scored with 31 points on 10-of-16 shooting, while James Harden set the table with 15 assists to go with his 21 points (seven-of-13 shooting), seven rebounds and five steals.

In fact, all five 76ers starters finished better than 50 per cent from the field, combining to shoot 33-of-56 (58.9 per cent) from the field for 94 points.

For the season, the 76ers own the 13th-best offense at 112.4 points per 100 possessions, but in these past four games they have raised that to 118.6 – the fourth-best figure over that span.

The key factor in the return of their offensive firepower is the return of James Harden – who returned from a five-week absence exactly four games ago, and has averaged 11.7 assists per contest since.

Embiid pointed to Harden's ability to generate open looks for his teammates when he spoke to reporters after the game.

"We're playing pretty well offensively," Embiid said. "James is doing a great job getting everyone easy shots. 

"My teammates are doing a fantastic job moving the ball and being in the right spots. That's what we've got to do.

"All we have to do is stay healthy – but we're not there yet. We have a long way to go."

Philadelphia head coach Doc Rivers agreed that the offense has found its groove.

"Really the last two games," he said. "We're in the 120s, shooting over 50 per cent, the ball’s moving, the floor is wide open – that’s exactly what we’re talking about. 

"Tobias had nine assists tonight, James had 15. It just says that they’re moving the ball, they’re playing together, our spacing is correct, and it’s good to see."

Harden, who is averaging over 10 assists per game for the fourth consecutive season, expanded on exactly what constitutes an efficient offense.

"I think offensively, it’s just knowing what we’re trying to accomplish possession by possession," he said. "That’s the most important thing. 

"If we’re out here and everybody’s on different pages and have their own individual agendas, and that goes for any team, the offense isn’t gonna be successful. 

"It doesn’t matter how many great guys you have on the team, so I think just knowing what we’re trying to accomplish and just going out there and doing our best job to accomplish it on both ends of the ball.

“For me, individually, I just try to pick up the pace, get the ball up as fast as we can before Joel gets down there, and once he gets down there, we know what to do.

"Guys are doing a great job of just moving their bodies, finding open spots, and then I’m just trying to hit them on target."

The 76ers have now won three in a row to improve their record to 15-12, and sit fifth in the Eastern Conference.

Joel Embiid posted another 50-point performance to lead the Philadelphia 76ers past the Charlotte Hornets 131-113 on Sunday.

Embiid scored 53 points with 11 rebounds for the Sixers, backing up his league season-best 59 points against the Utah Jazz on November 13.

The Sixers center joined Allen Iverson (2000-01 and 2004-05) and Wilt Chamberlain (1965-66 and 1967-68) to become the third player in franchise history to record multiple 50-point games in the same season.

Embiid also joined Chamberlin as the only Sixers in franchise history with at least 30 games of 40 points and 10 rebounds.

The big man's haul was built around 20-of-32 shooting along with making 11-of-11 free throws as the Sixers improved to 14-12.

James Harden made a solid contribution with 16 assists along with 19 points, including three-of-eight three-point shooting.

Pelicans soar into Western Conference lead

Zion Williamson scored 35 points to power the New Orleans Pelicans to a 129-124 overtime victory over the Phoenix Suns, who were missing Devin Booker again.

Williamson starred on 14-of-21 shooting with eight rebounds for the Pels, who beat the Suns twice in three days to surge into the Western Conference lead with a 18-8 record, fueled by seven straight wins.

Chris Paul and Deandre Ayton both fouled out for Phoenix, who were without Booker due to left hamstring tightness.

Griffin snatches remarkable OT Hawks win

A.J. Griffin sunk an overtime buzzer-beater to clinch the Atlanta Hawks a thrilling 123-122 win over the Chicago Bulls, after DeMar DeRozan hit three free throws with 0.5 seconds left to take the lead.

The Hawks snatched the win when Jalen Johnson's inbound alley-oop pass found Griffin, who hit a six-foot turnaround jumper. Trae Young had 19 points and 14 assists for Atlanta.

DeRozan scored a game-high 34 points for the Bulls, including 12 in the fourth quarter and three overtime free throws after being fouled by Bogdan Bogdanovic with less than a second left on a three-point attempt.

James Harden said he was "all over the place" on his return from injury but vowed to improve once he finds his rhythm for the Philadelphia 76ers.

The 2018 MVP winner was back in the starting line-up having missed 14 straight games after suffering a tendon strain in his right foot on November 2, with Philly going 4-5 in his absence.

However, his comeback failed to yield an upturn as the 76ers went down 132-123 to Harden's former team the Houston Rockets following double overtime.

Harden contributed 21 points but was just 4-of-19 from the field, missing all eight attempts inside the three-point arc. He also chalked up four rebounds and seven assists.

Philly coach Doc Rivers said Harden would be on a minutes restriction, but he still racked up 39. However, the 33-year-old said it was difficult to find fluidity.

"I didn't play well, but I've got to be better and I will," Harden said.

"I was all over the place. I'm not used to it, but I'm not making any excuses. I have to do better." 

Harden added that he had to fight his cause to play as much as he did in overtime.

"I had to fight to stay on the court just because there was a certain plan in place before the game started,'' Harden said.

"But once you go out there as a competitor you want to try to win."

The 76ers are on a three-match losing streak and sit seventh in the Eastern Conference with a 12-12 record. They next face the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday.

The Boston Celtics kept their terrific season rolling on Monday when they utilised a dominant third quarter to defeat the Toronto Raptors 116-110 away from home.

Boston were led by Jayson Tatum, who finished with 31 points on 11-of-24 shooting, hitting five of his 10 three-point attempts while adding 12 rebounds, three assists, one steal and one block in his 39 minutes. He helped his side outscore the Raptors 35-18 in the third period, turning around a six-point deficit at halftime.

The 24-year-old is enjoying the best season of his career, averaging a career-high 30.7 points per game while shooting a career-best 48.1 per cent from the field, all while attempting a career-high 9.3 three-pointers per game.

Tatum was supported well by running-mate Jaylen Brown, who chipped in 22 points (nine-of-22 shooting), eight rebounds and eight assists, while reigning Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Smart posted 18 points (seven-of-14) and seven assists.

While the Celtics were the best defensive team in the league this past season when they went to the NBA Finals, this campaign it has been all about their offense.

Scoring 120 points per 100 possessions, they are two-and-a-half points clear of the second-ranked Phoenix Suns (117.5), and they are getting it done by shooting a league-best 40.2 per cent from the three-point line.

Their win against the Raptors was their 21st game with at least 110 points, helping them to a league-best record of 20-5, while no other team has more than 17 wins.

Harden's rough return to Houston

Playing against his former team, James Harden returned for the Philadelphia 76ers after five weeks on the sidelines, but had a rough outing in a 132-123 double-overtime loss to the Houston Rockets.

Harden, who won the 2017-18 league MVP while playing for the Rockets, scored 21 points, dished seven assists, snagged four rebounds and plucked two steals, but he shot a dismal four-of-19 from the field.

His step-back three-pointer tied the game at 108-108 with 90 seconds remaining in regulation, ultimately forcing overtime, before back-to-back MVP runner-up Joel Embiid fouled out in the first extra period, leaving the 76ers short-handed for the second overtime.

Last year's second overall draft pick Jalen Green was strong for the Rockets, scoring 27 points on nine-of-20 shooting with seven assists, while this year's third overall pick Jabari Smith Jr added 16 points and 11 rebounds.

Gilgeous-Alexander carries the Thunder

Arguably the breakout star of the season so far, Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was the best player on the floor yet again in a 121-114 win on the road against the Atlanta Hawks.

The 24-year-old is currently third in the NBA in scoring at 31.1 points per game, and that figure got a bump after he put up 35 points against the Hawks, hitting 10-of-22 from the field and all 15 of his free throws.

Of the four other players averaging at least 30 points per game this season (Luka Doncic, Stephen Curry, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jayson Tatum) none are attempting fewer than Gilgeous-Alexanders 3.0 three-pointers per game, and none are shooting better than his 92.4 per cent from the free throw line.

James Harden will return to the Philadelphia 76ers starting line-up on Monday after five weeks on the sideline recovering from a right foot tendon strain.

The 10-time All-Star and six-time First Team All-NBA honouree missed 14 games after suffering the injury on November 2, with his team going 4-5 in the nine games he has featured in, averaging 21.8 points, 10.0 assists and 7.3 rebounds.

His absence did not kill the 76ers' season, as they went 8-6 without him, thanks in large part to the stellar play of Tyrese Maxey and Shake Milton in expanded roles.

For the month of November, Maxey averaged 22.4 points and 5.6 assists per game – similar to his stats with Harden in the side – but Milton took a massive step up, going from two points per game in October up to 14.2 points, 4.2 assists and 4.2 rebounds.

Despite Harden's return, the 76ers will remain a man down as Maxey has now missed two weeks with a similar foot injury, and is expected back at some point in the next 10 days.

Monday will be Harden's second time playing against his former team the Houston Rockets since joining the 76ers. In the 2017-18 season, Harden became the first Rocket since Hakeem Olajuwon (1993-94) to be named league MVP.

James Harden faces a month on the sidelines after the Philadelphia 76ers star suffered a tendon strain in his right foot, according to reports.

The 33-year-old point guard played for 35 minutes in the 121-111 defeat to the Washington Wizards on Wednesday, scoring 24 points and adding 10 assists and five rebounds.

However, according to ESPN, he will miss a long stretch now, with the injury detected during the Wizards game and confirmed in tests on Thursday.

Harden joined Philadelphia in February from the Brooklyn Nets in a multi-player trade and this season he has averaged 22 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds through nine games.

The Sixers are 4-5 for the campaign so far.

Harden is a 10-time All-Star and was named MVP in the 2017-18 NBA season.

With Harden on board for the closing games of the 2021-22 campaign, the Sixers reached the Eastern Conference semi-finals in the playoffs, where they were beaten 4-2 in the best-of-seven series by the Miami Heat.

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