Recreation winner James Harden lifts Sixers to 116-115 extra time win to sequence with Boston Celtics

A Wells Fargo Heart crowd, who spent greater than two hours waving blue pool towels all Sunday afternoon, Recreation 4 robotically become a uniform sea of ​​arms crossing and breaking away, signaling the referee’s sign “not good” within the perception that Marcus Good’s pointer The trio had left arms after the final bell of extra time.

And when the rerun of the video was formally confirmed, these 76 followers erupted right into a frenzy.

This ensured the Sixers immediate traditional 116-115 win over the Boston Celtics – with a cornerback three-pointer gained by James Harden earlier than Good’s very late shot – to reinject life into the Jap Convention Semifinal sequence by pulling them to a 2-2 tie.

“Irrespective of which method it performs out, I simply need to win,” stated Harden after scoring 42 factors and including 9 assists and eight rebounds in a large rebounding efficiency. “Fairly actually, at this time do or die for us.”

The sequence is now not less than assured to return to Philly for Recreation 6 after Harden’s second 40-point shutout in 4 video games in opposition to the Celtics. She reached after the longer term Corridor of Famer went 5 of 28 mixed from the ground in Video games 2 and three, drawing many exterior critics. NBA Most Priceless Participant Joel Embiid, who continues to play with a sprained knee, added 34 factors, 13 rebounds and 4 assists in 46 minutes on a fast turnaround after Recreation 3 on Friday.

It was becoming that the 2 Sixers stars related on the game-winning bucket, when Embiid discovered Harden on the sturdy aspect for the deep shot. After Embiid received into the paint in opposition to youthful Jason Tatum and Jaylen Brown moved in from the nook to assist on protection, the massive man threw what Harden referred to as an “unbelievable” cross for catching and taking pictures alternative.

“This was a straightforward play,” Embiid stated. “The arrogance we’ve been speaking about all season.”

Nonetheless, the Sixers wanted to catch up after a livid Celtics rally from 16 factors within the third to take a five-point lead with lower than two minutes remaining in regulation. Harden compelled extra time with a float that tied the rating at 107 with 16.1 seconds to play, earlier than Good fizzled out a three-point try simply earlier than the buzzer.

Boston pulled the lead even at 96-96, when Tatum adopted up three consecutive pointers by Good and Brown with a reverse cross with lower than six minutes to play. Then, after Embiid and Tyrese Maxey have been blocked on the rim, Al Horford flew down the golf green for a dunk and celebrated by shrugging his shoulders to his former residence crowd.

The Celtics’ lead grew to 105–100 on three consecutive three-pointers by Good and Malcolm Brogdon, earlier than a Harden layup and an old style three-point play into the underside finish by way of a landing by PJ Tucker tied the sport at 105 with a couple of minute remaining. Two intelligent free throws on the following ball gave the Celtics a two-point benefit earlier than Harden hit the sport.

The Sixers led by as many as 16 factors within the first half, when Harden hit a leadoff cross to Embiid with lower than two minutes to play earlier than the break. They held a double-digit lead for a lot of the third quarter, earlier than scoring simply 15 factors within the remaining interval of regulation to help a Boston comeback.

Tatum led the Celtics with 24 factors, 18 rebounds and 6 assists, whereas Brown had 23 factors and 5 assists. Brogdon, the sixth NBA participant of the yr, added 19 factors and eight rebounds off the bench.

Recreation 5 is on Tuesday evening in Boston, forward of recreation six on Thursday evening on the Wells Fargo Heart. As for a way the Sunday thriller can present optimistic momentum again at TD Backyard, Tucker stated, “We’ll know in a couple of days.”

Learn extra: Philly Powerful: Joel Embiid’s heroic recreation and James Harden’s Bounce-back sequence. Now, do it once more

Six-man guard James Harden clinches his fist after making a recreation profitable three-point basket in extra time over the Boston Celtics throughout Recreation 4 of the Jap Convention Semifinals on Sunday, Could 7, 2023 in Philadelphia..Learn extraYounger Kim / Employees Photographer

Harden’s look

Lengthy earlier than Harden’s essential late-game punt, the house crowd had reacted with cheers that felt like a combination of enthusiasm and sarcasm when he transformed a layup within the first quarter.

However then these pictures stored falling. and fall. and fall. He buried seven of his first eight makes an attempt – greater than he did in Video games 2 and three mixed – and scored 21 factors within the first half.

Twelve of these factors got here within the first 5 minutes of the second quarter, a feast throughout Embiid’s normal relaxation interval. He hit a triple pointer as he fell to the bottom. Then a pull hop. Then pontoon. Then one other deep shot. and one other.

Harden then hit two of his three pointers within the third quarter, together with one which put the Sixers again, 76-61, and he and Embiid prompted him to encourage the boisterous crowd to lift their voice as they returned to the bench for a timeout. He made seven of his 9 pictures within the third and fourth quarters, earlier than profitable the sport.

Harden and Rivers credited the Sixers’ strong screens, together with bettering ground spacing by working vast as an alternative of huddled on one aspect of the bottom, with serving to to open up Harden’s taking pictures. Harden added that taking motion early on the shot clock was additionally useful. Rivers even despatched Hardin a gospel tune referred to as “You Know My Title” as a pre-roll.

“For a day within the half, James needed to decide himself up,” Rivers stated after Harden’s robust efficiency in Video games 2 and three.

Learn extra: De’Anthony Melton has emerged as a constant playoff contributor for the Sixers

A stingy defensive begin

The Sixers dramatically constructed their 16-point halftime lead with their protection, holding the Celtics as much as 38.3% from the ground.

Boston’s offensive struggles got here after a scorching begin from the Browns, who hit his first 5 pictures and scored 12 of his crew’s first 14 factors. However the remainder of the Celtics shot 2 of 16 within the first quarter. Tatum missed his first eight pictures within the first half, earlier than hitting a jumper within the remaining minute earlier than the break.

“We have been aggressive,” stated Tucker, one of many Sixers’ announcers and chief liaison at that finish of the ground. “I believe, for us, being assertive, being aggressive is the distinction between most of our matches. After we come out early and assert ourselves and everyone seems to be bonded collectively, we’re sturdy. And once we don’t, we don’t.

“We might rating a number of factors and nonetheless win video games, however a number of occasions in qualifying you don’t win once we’re not. [aggressive]. Now we have to proceed to try this.”

That didn’t maintain up within the second half, when Boston shot 57.1 % to get again up once more. They outscored the Sixers, 57-48, anchored by 17 factors by Tatum on 6-of-8 taking pictures.

Sixers heart Joel Embiid factors with teammate James Harden in opposition to the Boston Celtics within the second quarter throughout Recreation 4 of the Jap Convention Semifinals on Sunday, Could 7, 2023 in Philadelphia..Learn extraYounger Kim / Employees Photographer

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Programs typically slim because the playoffs progress, and Sixers winger Jalen McDaniels was fired on Sunday.

That put Harden and fellow rookie Tobias Harris on the ground early within the second and fourth quarters together with DeAnthony Milton, George Niang and Paul Reid. This personnel rally helped unleash Harden’s lead within the second quarter. However after the Celtics lower the Sixers’ result in seven minutes about two minutes into the ultimate body, Maxie and Tucker shortly stormed again.

Though Rivers stated after the sport that he believed happening a shorter bench “was the suitable factor to do”, the coach admitted that it led to fatigue and a lack of offensive pace down the stretch. 4 of the 5 starters have performed not less than 45 minutes. The late reprieve utilized by Rivers was “actually simply to provide us somewhat break, and I believed we sort of pulled collectively and caught the wind.”

That distance, we have been working [empty]Rivers stated. “We couldn’t get the ball on the bottom, and that’s after they made a run. … It’s arduous to arrange a play when everybody’s drained, let me simply say that.”

Niang had the most effective efficiency within the second unit, going 3 of 6 from lengthy vary for 9 factors in 19 minutes.

McDaniels, who was acquired by the Sixers on the February commerce deadline, averaged 2 factors on 25% and 1.7 rebounds in 11.8 minutes within the first three video games of the sequence.

Learn extra: Is James Harden the brand new Ben Simmons? He should reverse course to avoid wasting this Sixers sequence.