The Philadelphia 76ers will need a better James Harden to beat Miami Heat

The Philadelphia 76ers managed to fend off the Toronto Raptors in the first play-off round, despite threatening to become the first team in NBA history to blow a 3-0 series lead.

The Sixers left little doubt on Thursday night, as they crushed the Raptors by 35 points to progress to the play-off quarter-finals. 

The Sixers left little doubt on Thursday night, as they crushed the Raptors by 35 points to progress to the play-off quarter-finals. 

James Harden also put up a solid performance, as he had 22 points on 7-of-12 shooting to go along with 15 assists and six rebounds.

Tyrese Maxey also played a big part in the game, providing 25 points on 8-of-16 shooting to go along with eight assists.

Getting past the Raptors was huge for the Sixers, as the narratives about them trading for Harden would've been ugly had they lost to them or, worse yet, blew a 3-0 lead.

But in order for Philadelphia to beat the Miami Heat, they're going to need Harden to step up and be as close to his old self as possible, meaning he has to take more shots and draw more free-throw attempts.

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