What you missed in Sixers vs. Pistons: a James Harden triple-double, and Reed vs. Harrell (2023)

While most of you were waiting to see if the Eagles would finish up their push for the NFC's No. 1 seed, the Sixers had a very different battle on their hands on Sunday. And like their football friends, the Sixers took care of business, beating up on a hapless Pistons team to improve their record to 24-15.

Here's what you missed, assuming you didn't fire up the DVR for this one (and I can't imagine why you would have.)

The big story: Backup centers lighting it up

Montrezl Harrell vs. Paul Reed continues to fire people up who follow this team, and for good reason. The Sixers have rarely, if ever, had reliable play behind Joel Embiid, causing Philadelphia to crater whenever their franchise center hits the bench. Against Detroit, the Sixers had both of their fill-ins playing well, which will only lead to more arguments about backup center in the weeks to come.

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At least this problem is a good problem to have — Harrell (20 points) and Reed (16 points) combined for basically one Joel Embiid's worth of scoring on Sunday in Detroit, going about their business in much different ways.

(Video) James Harden posts triple-double in Sixers' win over Pistons | Sixers Postgame Live

You all know by now what the game is going to look like for Harrell, and the Sixers did not overcomplicate things against a Pistons team missing Jalen Duren. Harrell and James Harden lined up for pick-and-roll after pick-and-roll, and Harrell was ruthless out of that look, walking right down the middle of the floor for easy bucket after easy bucket.

It's easy to chalk all of that up to Harden, and their bearded playmaker was on a level by himself on Sunday, carving up Detroit however and whenever he wanted. But Harrell deserves his share of the credit for soft hands and fluidity coming out of a screen. He routinely digs out passes that come in around his knees, gathering and going up for a dunk all in one motion. This is much harder than Harrell makes it look:

The other end of the floor is a bit of a disaster, truthfully, and it's why there are so many skeptics of Harrell as a playoff player. We've seen this movie before, on a Doc Rivers team no less, where Harrell was leaned on too heavily and exploited for his weaknesses in the postseason, helping to derail a talented Clippers team.

On Sunday, Harrell's lack of rim protection and some shaky decision-making in space nearly wiped out an awesome scoring performance. Pistons starting center Isaiah Stewart matched his scoring total with 20 points, and there were periods of this game where both teams were just trading buckets, Harrell and Stewart equally unprepared to offer resistance at the rim.

Reed, to his credit, was about as good as you could hope for on offense, to say nothing about his superior defensive work and rebounding compared to Harrell. It took a little while for Reed to figure out his niche and commit to a role in Philadelphia, with the coaching staff drilling into his head to keep things simple. He looks comfortable and assured in that center spot now, running the floor and rolling hard while crashing the glass and making quicker reads as a passer.

(Video) James Harden drops SECOND CONSECUTIVE triple-double 🔥

This is, without qualification, the most important play I think I've seen Reed make in the pros. The ball hits his hands and quickly moves to a cutting Shake Milton, who swings it to the corner for a terrific look from deep to end the possession:

These plays have been more common this year, and if anything, Reed has skewed a little too far toward quick-hitting passes on the offensive rebounds he creates, leaving some layup/dunk opportunities on the table.Reed is unlikely to match Harrell's scoring ceiling or replicate some of his traits, like those soft hands, but he can deliver an appealing package regardless, adding some switchability to the lineup while showing continued growth and maturity on offense.

If anything, the Sixers probably need to find a way to get him on the floor even if Harrell is playing the backup center minutes. I'm as reluctant as everyone else is to see Embiid playing next to non-shooters, but on a team that consistently struggles to rebound, Reed consistently does well for himself on the glass, offering length, athleticism, and determination they could use to change the tone.

I think this battle is far from over, though Harrell appears to be in the driver's seat right now thanks to a strong run of play on offense.

Player of the game: James Harden — 20 points, 11 rebounds, 11 assists, 1 turnover

There are triple-doubles that overstate a man's performance, but this wasn't one of them. Harden picked up his 10th assist on Philadelphia's first possession of the second half, cruising into the 71st triple-double of his career. When the Sixers exploded at the end of the first half to effectively put this game away, it was Harden at the center of everything.

(Video) 76ERS at PISTONS | FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS | January 8, 2023

Everything you could have hoped for in this one, Harden delivered. He roasted favorable matchups in the halfcourt, attacking guys like Kevin Knox on switches for some easy buckets of his own. The pace of play was awesome, with Harden getting Philly moving on Pistons misses and turnovers to exploit their leaky transition defense. And his pick-and-roll combination with Montrezl Harrell, aided by some poor efforts on Detroit's end, was about as good as it gets, with Harden threading beautiful passes into the painted area to make life easy on his starting center du jour.

Harden had total control of this game, delivering a win they never had to sweat in the second half. Awesome outing for him.

Little things I liked

• Tyrese Maxey's scoring burst at the end of the third quarter was a beautiful thing, with Maxey lighting up poor Killian Hayes to close out the period with style. Though his outside shot wasn't there for most of Sunday's game, Maxey's speed and start/stop ability looks to be coming back, and he used it to great effect against Detroit.

• This was about as well as Matisse Thybulle could play while having a poor night on offense. I am skeptical Reed/Mattise Thybulle lineups will work on offense against a real basketball team, but those two can cause total chaos on the defensive end, as evidenced by Thybulle's five (!) steals against Detroit on Sunday.

• Easy regular season wins without your best player should not be taken for granted.

(Video) You can't guard THIS James Harden ...

Negatives and nitpicking

• I can't believe there was a debate on the broadcast over whether Georges Niang committed a flagrant or not at the end of the first quarter. He smacked a guy in the head on a full sprint. Whether he wanted to try to get the ball or not, it was an easy flagrant one to call.

• De'Anthony Melton committed two different backcourt turnovers that probably drove Doc Rivers crazy. Playing with pace and trying to get up the floor is admirable, but you still have to keep an eye on where the defenders are.

Bad game for Melton in general, and I guess he was probably due for one of those.

• Troy Weaver getting an extension for putting together this Pistons roster remains one of the most baffling developments of the season. Missing Cade Cunningham or not, they are a brutal watch.

Follow Kyle on Twitter: @KyleNeubeck


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How many triple doubles did James Harden have? ›

James Harden has 77 career triple doubles, with 73 taking place during the regular season. He has 4 this season.

How many 40 point triple doubles does Harden have? ›

James Harden has 16 triple-doubles when scoring 40+ points in his career.

How many triple does James Harden have? ›

James Harden has gotten 73 triple-doubles in his career.

Where does James Harden play? ›

76ers' James Harden: Third consecutive double-double

2 option behind Joel Embiid. Friday night's performance against the Knicks makes three consecutive double-doubles for Harden and his fourth over the last five games. He remains a top-five fantasy guard for managers moving forward.

Who has a 60 point triple-double? ›

Luka Doncic went off for a historic triple-double (60 points, 21 rebounds, 10 assists) in the comeback win over the Knicks in overtime. Dallas Mavericks superstar Luka Doncic put on a career-best performance never before seen in NBA history.

Who is 3 all time in triple-doubles? ›

As the table shows, the other active players are Nikola Jokic and James Harden – at 76 and 68 career triple-double respectively - and Luka Doncic who has climbed into 10th with 45.
NBA's all-time leaders for most career regular season triple-doubles.
1.Russell Westbrook194
2.Oscar Robertson181
3.Magic Johnson138
4.Jason Kidd107
6 more rows
Mar 28, 2022

Has LeBron ever had a 50 point triple-double? ›

On This Date: LeBron James records a near 50-point triple-double at MSG in 2008. On this date in 2008, LeBron James put up 50 points, 10 assists, 8 rebounds, and 4 steals on 16-of-30 shooting (7-of-13 on 3's) in 44 minutes on the court.

Who has the most 50 point triple-doubles? ›

Only four players other than Luka Doncic have scored more than 50 points in a triple-double: James Harden (three times), Russell Westbrook (twice), Wilt Chamberlain (twice) and Elgin Baylor (once).

Who has the highest triple-double? ›

Which player has the most triple doubles? In May 2021, Washington Wizards point guard Russell Westbrook became the undisputed king of the triple doubles. He scored his record-breaking 182nd triple double in a tight 125-124 loss against the Atlanta Hawks.

How many triple-doubles does Steph Curry have? ›

Stephen Curry has 12 career triple doubles, with 10 taking place during the regular season. He has 1 this season.

Who has the most double-doubles all time? ›

In league history, the record for most career double-doubles is 968, held by Wilt Chamberlain. Special double-doubles are rare. One such achievement is sometimes called a 20–20, double double-double, or double-20, when a player accumulates 20 or more in two statistics in a game. Another similar feat is a 30–30.

How many 3 pointers has Harden missed? ›

James Harden has missed the most career three-pointers with 4,738 misses.
James Harden9774,738
Ray Allen13004,456
Stephen Curry8644,421
LeBron James14094,255
13 more rows

What's a quadruple double in basketball? ›

Similar to a triple-double, a quadruple-double is recorded when a player registers double figures in any four of the five primary stat categories - points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks. Last season, Russell Westbrook, en route to winning the season MVP, recorded a league record 42 triple-doubles for the year.

What does James Harden own in Houston? ›

Houston Dynamo FC. Basketball superstar James Harden joined the ownership group of the Houston Dynamo, Houston Dash and Shell Energy Stadium on July 18, 2019.

What player has the most quadruple doubles? ›

Most Quadruple Doubles
RankPlayer# Times
1Nate Thurmond1
Alvin Robertson1
Hakeem Olajuwon1
David Robinson1

Who has triple-doubles without points? ›

Share All sharing options for: Draymond Green recorded the 1st NBA triple-double without the points. Draymond Green is an NBA All-Star for a reason beyond scoring: he contributes to all areas of winning.

Who was the closest to a quintuple-double? ›

Interesting Fact: The closest to the quintuple-double was from the great Hakeem Olajuwon, and as impressive as his night was on March 3rd, 1990, it wasn't even that close. It wasn't even a quadruple double. Even though it was the nearest statline to 5×10, it was still 5 steals and one assist short.

Who holds the all time 3 point? ›

Stephen Curry

Who has the most 40 point triple-doubles? ›

Oscar Robertson has gotten the most career triple-doubles when scoring 40+ points, with 22 triple-doubles.

Who has the most 30 point triple-doubles? ›

Oscar Robertson has gotten the most career triple-doubles when scoring 30+ points, with 106 triple-doubles.

Who was the most triple-doubles in NBA history? ›

Which player has the most triple doubles? In May 2021, Washington Wizards point guard Russell Westbrook became the undisputed king of the triple doubles. He scored his record-breaking 182nd triple double in a tight 125-124 loss against the Atlanta Hawks.

Who has the most triple-doubles in NCAA history? ›

Through the 2021–22 season, the career record for triple-doubles in Division I men's basketball is held by BYU's Kyle Collinsworth with 12.

Who has the highest triple-double in NBA history? ›

Russell Westbrook has gotten the most career triple-doubles, with 198 triple-doubles.

How many 60 point triple-doubles does James Harden have? ›

Luka dropped a 60 point triple double!! That's only happened one other time in NBA History, by James Harden.

Who has the most quadruple doubles? ›

Most Quadruple Doubles
RankPlayer# Times
1Nate Thurmond1
Alvin Robertson1
Hakeem Olajuwon1
David Robinson1

Has any NBA player had a quadruple-double? ›

While double-doubles and triple-doubles occur regularly each NBA season, only four quadruple-doubles have ever officially been recorded in the NBA, and no quintuple-double has ever been recorded in a professional basketball game.

Who has the most 40 point double-doubles? ›

Interpreted as:
James Harden10146
Shaquille O'Neal4943
Michael Jordan17339
LeBron James7334
13 more rows

How many triple-doubles does MJ have all time? ›

***Michael Jordan had 28 career triple-doubles. ****Clyde Drexler had 25 career triple-doubles.

Who recorded the fastest triple-double? ›

Per NBA.com/Stats, Westbrook logged the fewest minutes in a triple-double performance since 1955, when Jim Tucker recorded a triple-double in a mere 17 minutes for the Syracuse Nationals. Tucker's performance, which occurred Feb. 20, 1955, is one of the great oddities in NBA history.

Who has the quickest triple-double? ›

Jokic recorded the fastest triple-double in league history against the Milwaukee Bucks that year in just 14 minutes and 33 seconds. Jokic's triple-double on Tuesday is the third-fastest. Jim Tucker of the Syracuse Nationals has the second-fastest at 17 minutes, something he set back in 1955.

Has anyone ever had a 20 20 20 triple-double? ›

Russell Westbrook becomes the only player in NBA history to record multiple triple-doubles with 20+ REB and 20+ AST. Wilt Chamberlain is the only other player to have 1 such game. The former Kia MVP first accomplished the feat in 2019, while Chamberlain broke that ground some 51 years earlier.

What's the biggest triple-double ever? ›

Russell Westbrook put up 33 points, 19 rebounds, and 15 assists against the Pacers to tie Oscar Robertson for most triple-doubles in NBA history.
Russell Westbrook 1 triple-double from all-time record.
T1Oscar Robertson181
T1Russell Westbrook181*
3Magic Johnson138
4Jason Kidd107
6 more rows
Sep 21, 2022


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