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James Harden under more pressure than any playoff player

Charles Barkley played eight seasons in Philadelphia and suffered the brunt of never winning a championship with the Sixers.

That’s why the TNT analyst mocked James Harden when he said this week that he felt no pressure to make the playoffs after his midseason trade with the Nets.

“James Harden, you said you didn’t feel any pressure?” Man, you better think again,” Barkley said on air Friday night. “These people from Philadelphia aren’t going to take you out and play badly.

“So you can sit down – I don’t want to call it a deflection or anything – you have more pressure on you than any player in the playoffs. Good luck, now, because my Sixers, I love you all Sixers and my Suns, but James, don’t tell that lie.

James Harden was traded to Philadelphia midway through the season.
NBAE via Getty Images

The Sixers, who haven’t won an NBA title since 1983, enter their first-round playoff series against the Raptors as the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference. They went 19-9 after Harden was acquired from the Nets along with Paul Millsap on Feb. 10 in exchange for Ben Simmons, Seth Curry and Andre Drummond.

“Pressure? No, I feel good,” Harden told reporters Thursday. “I’m ready to jump. There’s nothing in particular.”

Harden averaged 21.0 points and 10.5 assists in 21 appearances after the trade, but he and MVP contender Joel Embiid are looking for their first championship rings in their respective NBA careers.

“I tell him to be himself. He’s done a great job as a playmaker, but we need him to be aggressive and really score the ball, especially against Toronto,” Embiid said. “He just has to be himself and not worry about people talking about pressure.”

New York Post

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