On this night, James Harden sat out and so did Michael Carter-Williams. The Houston Rockets are still a tough team without their main scorer. The Philadelphia 76ers were tougher on Wednesday night and proved that they’ll be a handful for teams looking to take the night off.
Harden rested because of a sore left foot. The game wouldn’t have mattered considering both teams’ stars were out and there’s no telling if Harden’s presence would benefit the Rockets considering his inconsistencies this season. The 123-117 overtime win over the top-tier Rockets should be a confidence-booster to an undermanned and oft-injured Sixers team, as well as help them believe they can beat any team in the NBA.
The roster consisting of mostly rejects who couldn’t make the cut is playing with a ‘nothing to lose attitude’ that’s translating to wins on the court. The last two loses are bad, but when they can beat a team like the Rockets, they are proving that they don’t need to tank just to take a giant leap.
Part of the other reason for the early success can be credited to Sixers GM Sam Hinkie, who has used his analytics approach of building a team strictly based on statistics while keeping the team under the salary cap.
The Rockets still had Jeremy Lin, who scored 34 points and dished 12 assists, and Dwight Howard, who scored 23 points, pulled 15 rebounds and blocked six shots. Both players were matchup nightmares but were beat by James Anderson, Tony Wroten and Evan Turner — not exactly franchise players.
The Sixers may not be in the top five in the Eastern Conference, but they have a chance to make the postseason and add a star to their roster in the summertime.