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Cavs coach Bickerstaff hails 76ers' Harden

James Harden had a double-double against the Cleveland Cavaliers as his fine start to life with the Philadelphia 76ers continued.

Cavs coach Bickerstaff hails 76ers' Harden
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J.B. Bickerstaff worked with James Harden while the duo were with the Houston Rockets, and the Cleveland Cavaliers coach continues to be impressed by the Philadelphia 76ers man.

Harden closes in on Reggie Miller tally

Harden registered 25 points, 11 assists and three rebounds as the in-form Sixers won a fifth straight game on Friday, beating the Cavs 125-119. While Joel Embiid failed to hit his usual high marks, scoring 22 points, Tyrese Maxey stepped up with 33 points, including five threes. Harden added two three-pointers to the 76ers tally, moving onto 2,559 for his career, meaning he only needs one more to match Reggie Miller for third on the all-time list (regular season only).

"He sees the game a step ahead," Bickerstaff told reporters when asked about Harden. "He's not one of those guys that's just going so fast he's waiting for the offense to react. He's forcing the defense to react. He's one of the most creative decision-makers and passers in our game. He also knows when to make the play that's right in front of him."

Reflecting on his team's display, Bickerstaff – who was fined $20,000 after being ejected from the game during Monday's defeat to the Charlotte Hornets – was satisfied despite a third-straight loss. "We felt and looked like ourselves for the first time in a while," he said. "We just happened to run into a really good basketball team."

Harden finished with at least 20 points and 10 assists for a third game in four, yet the former Brooklyn Nets shooting guard was not thrilled with his own display. "I've got to do a better job of being more solid, I've got to be smarter so I can be out there and help my team," he told reporters.

Yet Maxey stepped up regardless, and Harden was impressed. "On any given night, it can be any one of us to go off," Harden said of his team-mate. "Tyrese really picked it up for us tonight." Coach Doc Rivers, meanwhile, labelled Maxey "a fearless kid".


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