Sunday is the ultimate legacy game for 2 NBA greats, James Harden and Joel Embiid.

Well, Thursday night sucked. There’s no other way to slice it. The Sixers, in a close out opportunity at home against a Boston Celtics team that did not have remotely their best game, fell short after one of the worst 4th quarter playoff efforts in recent memory. The blame can be placed on pretty much every player and coach for Philly, but for every individual pointed to, there were multiple others also at fault for the collapse. Now, much to the chagrin of mothers across the Delaware Valley, the Sixers will have to travel up to Boston on Sunday for a win or go home Game 7. If you don’t have confidence in them to win that game, well don’t worry. You’re absolutely not alone. It’s an insanely important pressure spot for a team in the Sixers that has performed unbelievably poorly in pressure spots for what feels like the past 20 years. Oh, wait… it actually is the past 20 years? Yeah, Sunday means a lot.

I’m not breaking news there, though. We know how important Game 7s are in sports, but this is no normal Game 7. This game will have a sense of heightened importance, even when compared to other matchups in the heated rivalry of Sixers-Celtics. This Sunday, the legacy of 2 all-time great NBA players will be on the line. James Harden is one of the 75 greatest NBA players of all time. He’s tied for 20th all-time in assists in NBA history, 25th in points, and 3rd in 3 pointers. He’s one of the greatest guards to ever play the game. He has never won an NBA Finals, and at age 33 with an expiring contract and a question about where he’ll end up next year, this could be his last shot. The former MVP might be singing his swan song on Sunday when it comes to championship contention, and that should be all the motivation he needs to play his rear end off.

Harden isn’t the only one that has a lot on the line, though. Harden has been to multiple Conference Finals and has a Finals appearance to his name. Joel Embiid, on the other hand, has never seen the other side of the 2nd round. Embiid could end up having a better individual resume than Harden, even though it’s hard to see his career longevity equaling that of The Beard. He’s the current NBA MVP, he’s arguably the most skilled big man we’ve EVER seen, and even if you don’t agree with that assessment, he seems destined to be a top 10 Center to ever touch a basketball. Even though at 29 he’s 4 years younger than Harden, his injury history makes it feel like we could already be seeing Joel Embiid at his best. A decline in productivity, or even a request out of Philadelphia, are certainly not out of the question when looking at next season. Embiid is candid about his career desires:

Well, big guy, you and your star point guard, as well as this era of Sixers basketball, might have one more shot. It all comes down to Sunday in Boston, and against the odds, these two all-time greats James Harden and Joel Embiid need to play like their legacies depend on a victory. To many people, they do.

Sign me up for the 97.5 The Fanatic email newsletter!

Become a Fanatic MVP to get the latest info on the Philly Sports landscape, plus access to exclusive content and member-only contests.

By clicking "Subscribe" I agree to the website's terms of Service and Privacy Policy. I understand I can unsubscribe at any time.