NBA: James Harden says 76ers taking confidence on the road after leveling series
The Philadelphia 76ers hit the road to Boston with “huge confidence” this week after winning Game 4 116-115 against the Celtics on Sunday to level their conference semi-final series courtesy of another clutch three-pointer from James Harden.
The 10-times NBA All-Star pushed the game into overtime with a floating jump shot and sealed it with 18 seconds left in overtime with a 24-foot jumper off an assist from newly minted MVP Joel Embiid.
“I put the work in so it’s all about being aggressive,” said Harden, who produced 42 points – just shy of his career playoff high 45 – with eight rebounds and nine assists. “Tonight was really do or die.”
— NBA (@NBA) May 7, 2023
The game was a much-needed injection of confidence, Harden said in a televised interview after the game, after a pair of demoralizing losses with Embiid battling through a sprained right knee.
“Huge confidence, huge confidence. I felt like last game, we didn’t play well offensively – defensively we played extremely hard but we didn’t get our shots to fall,” said Harden.
“Tonight we did a much better job of spacing the floor, giving guys room to operate.”
He had added motivation with a special invited guest at courtside: John Hao, a Harden super-fan and student at Michigan State who was paralyzed in a campus shooting earlier this year.
Harden, who spoke to Hao while he was hospitalized and previously pledged to help pay his medical bills, took off his shoes after the game and signed them for Hao.
“He just gave me good luck – he brought me good vibes, good energy,” said Harden, adding he would invite Hao “every game – here on out.”
The Sixers face the Celtics in Boston for Game 5 on Tuesday.