Clippers vs 76ers: James Harden doesn’t get revenge game as LA crumbles in Sunday's matinee matchup

James Harden #1 of the Los Angeles Clippers drives against Tobias Harris #12 of the Philadelphia 76ers during the first half at Arena on March 24, 2024 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

Sunday’s matinee matchup between the Los Angeles Clippers and the Joel Embiid-less Philadelphia 76ers at downtown LA's Arena marked the first time James Harden faced his former team. 

The Clippers entered the game on a two-game winning streak following a series in Portland. The Sixers had lost two games in a row, having struggled without the 2023 league MVP. The Sixers are now 13-24 without Embiid this season.

Meanwhile, the Clippers are close to being fully healthy with Norman Powell back in the lineup and Russell Westbrook set to return in the coming days. PJ Tucker also missed Sunday’s game with right calf soreness.

SUGGESTED: Russell Westbrook, vocal leader of the LA Clippers, to return next week: reports 

On Sunday, the Clippers had a dismal start coming off a road trip and playing yet another afternoon game. The Sixers were fueled by an early 19-point performance by Tobias Harris and were up by as many as 17 points in the first half. As the Clippers began to find their rhythm, they started to erase that deficit. Still, Philly finished the first half up 63-56.

The Sixers maintained their lead and went into the final quarter up by five points. 

Clippers head coach Tyronne Lue called a timeout with 9 minutes and 25 seconds remaining with his team down 96-85. Even then, the Clippers had no solutions and lost the game 121-107. 

Harden finished the game with 12 points, 14 assists and 4 rebounds.  

Harden has another opportunity to get revenge on March 27 when the Clippers take on the Sixers on the road. 

Up next, the Clippers face the Indiana Pacers at home Monday night.

A look back on the James Harden trade

About an hour before Halloween 2023, news broke that James Harden, an LA native, was coming home and would be a Clipper. The blockbuster trade occurred months after the 10-time All-Star demanded a trade and just over two months after he called Daryl Morey "a liar" while on a summer tour in China. 


The 76ers met the superstar’s demands and traded Harden and PJ Tucker in exchange for Robert Covington, KJ Martin, draft picks, and unsung hero, Nico Batum. 

"Back in Artesia, I was trying to get out and take care of my family," Harden, the Artesia High School graduate recalled during his introductory news conference "To get another opportunity [to come to LA] is even more special."

Of course, he also introduced himself by saying he’s a "creator on the court" and that "I am not a system player. I am the system."

RELATED: James Harden discusses taking ‘unselfish’ role with Clippers: ‘I’m happy to be here’

A brutal adjustment followed after Harden's debut as the Clippers went 0-5. Clippers' head coach Ty Lue and the coaching staff found the right formula and Russell Westbrook volunteered to come off the bench, which put Terance Mann, also known as the "Glue Guy," in the starting lineup. The Clips then became one of the league’s hottest teams going into the All-Star break. 

Since then, it hasn't been smooth sailing as the Clips navigate rocky waters. They are now 8-9 since the All-Star game.

With three weeks left in the regular season, the Clippers narrowly hold the fourth seed in the Western Conference with New Orleans nipping at their heels.