Through the first five games of the Philadelphia 76ers' first-round series against Toronto, James Harden has taken on a secondary scoring role, averaging 18.4 points on 13.4 shots per outing.
It sounds like Joel Embiid wants that to change moving forward. In his press conference this morning, Embiid was asked about Harden only attempting 11 shots in Philadelphia's Game 5 loss to the Raptors.
The blunt big man, who leads Philly with 24.8 points and 11.6 rebounds per game in the series, made it clear he wants to see more of Harden attempting to do what he does best: score.
"I've been saying all season since he got here, he needs to be aggressive and he needs to be himself," Embiid said
Embiid on Harden only taking 11 shots: "I've been saying all season since he got here, he needs to be aggressive and he needs to be himself. That's not really my job, that's probably on coach to talk to him and tell him to take more shots"
Full quote: pic.twitter.com/vc5WIpROLO
— Kyle Neubeck (@KyleNeubeck) April 26, 2022
">via Kyle Neubeck of the Philly Voice. "That's not really my job, that's probably on coach to talk to him and tell him to take more shots. Especially if they're going to guard me the way they've been guarding. But that's really not my job."
Embiid did go on to say the 76ers need to play better collectively offensively, but he definitely is looking for more from Harden.
Against Toronto, four Philadelphia starters are averaging at least 17 points per game: Embiid, Harden, Tyrese Maxey and Tobias Harris.
That balanced approach is great, but we might need to see a vintage Harden scoring performance to close the Raptors out. This could especially be true with Embiid battling a torn ligament in this right thumb which will require offseason surgery.
After winning the first three games of the series, Philly has dropped two in a row. The pressure is mounting as the best-of-seven battle moves back to Toronto for Game 6 on Thursday.