Philadelphia 76ers star guard James Harden decided to try a new form of defense late in the third quarter of the contest between the Sixers and Denver Nuggets on Saturday afternoon.
With just under two minutes remaining in the quarter, Harden was seated on Philly's bench and jumped directly onto the floor to deflect a pass from Bones Hyland in the corner. That tipped pass went right into the hands of Sixers forward Georges Niang, but the referees weren't having it. The play was blown dead, and the Sixers were hit with a technical foul for having just four players on the floor prior to Harden's jump into action.
You can see the comical play below:
James Harden is playing defense from the bench 😂pic.twitter.com/HM7fG0P6FH— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) January 28, 2023
Even though it didn't work in Philadelphia's favor, you have to give Harden credit for trying, and for his ingenuity.
That play was just one of many entertaining ones from the matinee contest between Philadelphia and Denver. The game featured a matchup between perineal MVP candidates Joel Embiid and Nikola Jokic. Jokic won the MVP Award over Embiid in each of the past two seasons, but Embiid got the best of him in this game. Embiid powered the Sixers to a 126-119 win with a dominant 47-point, 18-rebound performance. Jokic finished the game with 24 points, nine assists and eight rebounds.
Harden tallied 17 points, 13 assists and four rebounds in the contest, and his production was central to success for the Sixers, but his most memorable play from the day is his defense from the bench.