76ers’ James Harden out, Joel Embiid starts vs. Suns; Deandre Ayton out

Mar 25, 2023, 1:48 PM | Updated: 6:35 pm

Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) drives on Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton during the f...

Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) drives on Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2021, in Phoenix.(AP Photo/Matt York)

(AP Photo/Matt York)

The Philadelphia 76ers listed guard James Harden (left Achilles) as out, while MVP contender Joel Embiid (right calf) will start Saturday’s game against the Phoenix Suns.

For Phoenix, center Deandre Ayton (right hip) remains out for his fourth straight game and forward Kevin Durant (left ankle) continues his rehab in hopes of a reported return on Wednesday.

Harden is in his first full season with the 76ers after a tumultuous ending to his tenure with the Brooklyn Nets last year.

Despite collecting a few injuries over the last couple of seasons, Harden has missed only 10 of 63 games this season and has improved on almost every statistic from his 21-game run with Philadelphia last season.

The 14-time All-Star guard is averaging 21.4 points per game on 44.1% shooting, 6.3 rebounds and 10.8 assists. Philadelphia will turn to a mixture of Tyree Maxey, Shake Milton and De’Anthony Melton to take the ball up the court.

Embiid is having a monster season, averaging 33.4 points per game on 54.7% shooting (both career highs), 10.2 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 1.7 blocks. The big man has been the engine of Philadelphia’s run to a 49-24 mark and No. 3 seed, currently, in the Eastern Conference.

On Friday against the Golden State Warriors, Embiid posted 46 points (13-for-23 shooting), nine rebounds and eight assists.

The Suns will look to pick up some slack against the 76ers (winners in 9 of last 11) after dropping three straight games and falling to the No. 5 seed in the Western Conference. Both teams are on the backend of back-to-back games.

Phoenix takes on Philadelphia at 7 p.m. on 98.7 FM, the Arizona Sports app and

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