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James Harden drained a 3-pointer with 19 seconds remaining in overtime to fuel the host Philadelphia 76ers to a back-and-forth 116-115 victory over the Boston Celtics on Sunday (Monday, May 8, Manila time), leveling their Eastern Conference semifinal series at two wins apiece.
Harden collected 42 points, 9 assists and 8 rebounds while Joel Embiid recorded 34 points and 13 boards for the third-seeded 76ers, who snapped a two-game skid. Game 5 is Tuesday (Wednesday, May 10, Manila time) in Boston.
Harden made 16 of 23 shots from the floor — including 6 of 9 from 3-point range — to bounce back from a pair of disastrous shooting performances in Games 2 and 3. He sank just 5 of 28 shots from the floor and 2 of 13 from beyond the arc in the previous two games.
Boston’s Jayson Tatum overcame missing his first eight shots from the floor to finish with 24 points, 18 rebounds and 6 assists. Jaylen Brown had 23 points, Marcus Smart added 21 points and 7 assists and Malcolm Brogdon contributed 19 points with 8 rebounds off the bench for the second-seeded Celtics.
Embiid sank a pair of free throws to give Philadelphia a 113-112 lead with 56 seconds left in overtime before Tatum answered by sinking a 3-pointer with 38.1 seconds remaining.
Harden countered by converting from the corner with 19 seconds left before Smart’s 3-pointer was deemed to be released after the buzzer.
Smart converted a three-point play to give Boston a 112-109 lead with 3:31 remaining in overtime. Embiid sank a floater, however the potential go-ahead basket was negated after he was whistled for a charge against Smart with 1:49 left, which the Sixers unsuccessfully challenged.
Earlier, P.J. Tucker converted a three-point play to forge a tie at 105-105 before being whistled for a foul on Smart, who made both free-throw attempts with 51.3 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter.
Harden sank a mid-range floater to level the contest with 16.4 seconds to play, and Smart’s open 3-point attempt at the buzzer bounced off the front rim.
The 76ers led by as much as 16 late in the third quarter, and Embiid converted a slick pass from Harden to give Philadelphia a 96-88 lead with 7:15 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Boston made a stand, however, as Smart drained two 3-pointers to highlight his team’s 17-4 run before Harden made a basket and Tucker converted a three-point play to forge a tie. – Rappler.com