James Harden sat out the finale of the Sixers’ five-game road trip in Minnesota.
On the second night of a back-to-back, the Sixers ruled Harden out Tuesday night because of left foot soreness. He’d been listed as questionable throughout the afternoon.
Last year, Harden made his Sixers debut at Target Center and had a stellar performance in a blowout victory.
The Sixers started De’Anthony Melton in Harden’s place against the Timberwolves and blew Minnesota out behind a 39-point Joel Embiid outing. Tobias Harris and P.J. Tucker returned after sitting out the Sixers’ win Monday over the Pacers with a left calf contusion and back spasms, respectively.
Harden dished out 20 assists in that game, one shy of the career high he set earlier this season in a December win vs. the Clippers. He is two assists away from passing Philadelphia native and Temple legend Guy Rodgers for 21st on the NBA’s all-time assists list. Harden is also five made free throws from overtaking Michael Jordan for sixth in NBA history.
Prior to Tuesday night, Harden had played in 39 of the Sixers’ 41 games since returning from a right foot tendon strain. The Sixers posted the Eastern Conference’s best record (30-11) and best offensive rating (119.4) during that stretch.
With the Sixers about to take on a grueling second-half schedule, head coach Doc Rivers emphasized that the team would prioritize players’ health and lean on its depth. Danuel House Jr. contributed to shorthanded wins over Miami, Indiana and Minnesota on the team's 4-1 road trip.
After coming back home, the Sixers will play the Trail Blazers on Friday night and the Wizards on Sunday at Wells Fargo Center.