76ers face contract issue with James Harden after another playoff failure

Early in the fourth quarter of Game 6 between the Sixers and Heat, an exhausted Doc Rivers gave up on attempts to bring his team back and appealed directly to his competitive spirit. “Struggle for this,” Rivers implored. “Come on guys, struggle for that.” They didn’t. Miami’s lead grew to 19, then 20 before Philadelphia closed the gap in trash time, ending the game – and its season – with a loss. 99-90.

Right now, Rivers was addressing everyone in that Sixers group. His post, however, was likely aimed directly at James Harden. In Philadelphia’s biggest game of the season, Harden played like he didn’t want to be there. He attempted nine shots, fewer than anyone in the Sixers’ starting lineup except Danny Green, who left the game after three minutes with a knee injury. In the third quarter, Harden had more turnovers (two) than shots. He tried one more in the fourth quarter. He did not attempt a free throw. His last line: 43 minutes, 11 points, nine assists, four turnovers.

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