— alex toledo (@tropicalblanket) May 3, 2022
Harden, who averaged 8.2 free-throw attempts per game during the regular season, was limited to just four shots from the line on Monday night. That helped the Heat come away with a 106-92 victory to take a 1-0 lead in the series.
Miami did a solid job on Harden overall, as the former MVP was held to just 16 points on 5-of-13 shooting from the field (2-for-7 from beyond the arc). Harden also added nine rebounds and five assists for the Sixers.
The 2021-22 season has been a tough one for Harden, as he’s seen his efficiency drop in a big way. Harden shot just 41.0 percent from the field in the regular season, which is the worst percentage he’s shot since his first season in the NBA.
Not only that, but Harden also shot a career-worst 33.0 percent from beyond the arc during the regular season. With Miami limiting Harden’s chances at the free-throw line, he’s going to have a tough time making a major impact on the series.
Harden didn’t want to give Miami credit for its defense after the loss, but the numbers don’t lie. The Heat are in a solid spot early in the series because of their team defense on Harden.
The 10-time All-Star will try to bounce back when the Sixers and Heat square off in Game 2 of the series on Wednesday, May 4 from FTX Arena in Miami.