Sunday’s Game 4 brought overtime drama, as the Sixers took a 116-115 victory to even the series behind heroics from MVPs James Harden (42 pts, 9 ast, 8 reb) and Joel Embiid (34 pts, 13 reb) down the stretch.
“We just fought,” Doc Rivers said postgame. “This is the way it’s going to be. It’s going to be a game of runs. We’ve got to keep our composure. I was proud of our guys.”
The Sixers came out particularly hot in Game 4, taking a 27-19 lead out of the first quarter break and a 59-50 lead into halftime.
“I thought they played with a lot of force in the first half,” Boston Head Coach Joe Mazzulla said of the Sixers. “We combated that in the second half… When you’re talking about the playoffs, and winning these games, it comes down to what our mindset is going to be.”
On Mazzulla’s side, Jayson Tatum scored a team-high 24 points, plus a game-high 18 rebounds, six assists, a steal, and four blocks. Jaylen Brown added 23 points, three rebounds, and five assists, while Marcus Smart totalled 21 points, three boards, and seven assists.
But it was Harden’s second 40-point outing of the series that carried the Sixers across the finish line ahead.
“I just want to win, no matter how it plays out,” Harden said. “I just want to win. And quite frankly, today was a do-or-die for us. We just found a way to win, and that’s all that matters in the postseason.”
But business is far from over ahead of Game 5’s series tiebreaker, and Thursday’s Game 6. Game 7 (if necessary) will be played Sunday.
“Watch film, get better, and be ready to go,” Harden said. “See things we can get better at, and be ready to go for Game 5.”
Tuesday’s Game 5 is a 7:30 p.m. ET tip.
Sunday’s Key Performances
Harden neared a 40-point triple-double, with a game-high 42 points, eight rebounds, a game-high nine assists, and a game-high four steals. He shot 16-for-23 from the floor, 6-for-9 from deep, and 4-for-4 from the foul line in 47 minutes of play.
Embiid notched a 34-point, 13-rebound double-double, plus four assists and a steal in his 46 minutes.
Maxey tallied 14 points, eight rebounds, an assist, two steals, and a block in 45 minutes of play.
Quote to Note:
Harden on his guest of honor at Sunday’s game:
“[John Hao] is my good luck charm. I’ve been keeping in contact with him. Obviously, for a tragedy like that to happen, there’s a lot of nonsense going on in the world. For him to be a victim of that is heartbreaking. But he’s strong. I feel like it’s my job to give him that light and that smile that he deserves and needs. Hopefully today was one of those days where he’s smiling. That’s what I’m here for.”
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