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(Reuters) – The Philadelphia 76ers hit the highway to Boston with “big confidence” this week after successful Sport 4 116-115 in opposition to the Celtics on Sunday to degree their convention semi-final collection courtesy of one other clutch three-pointer from James Harden.
The ten-times NBA All-Star pushed the sport into additional time with a floating leap shot and sealed it with 18 seconds left in additional time with a 24-foot jumper off an help from newly minted MVP Joel Embiid.
“I put the work in so it is all about being aggressive,” stated Harden, who produced 42 factors – simply shy of his profession playoff excessive 45 – with eight rebounds and 9 assists. “Tonight was actually do or die.”
The sport was a much-needed injection of confidence, Harden stated in a televised interview after the sport, after a pair of demoralizing losses with Embiid battling by way of a sprained proper knee.
“Enormous confidence, big confidence. I felt like final recreation, we did not play properly offensively – defensively we performed extraordinarily arduous however we didn’t get our pictures to fall,” stated Harden.
“Tonight we did a a lot better job of spacing the ground, giving guys room to function.”
He had added motivation with a particular invited visitor at courtside: John Hao, a Harden super-fan and scholar at Michigan State who was paralyzed in a campus taking pictures earlier this 12 months.
Harden, who spoke to Hao whereas he was hospitalized and beforehand pledged to assist pay his medical payments, took off his footwear after the sport and signed them for Hao.
“He simply gave me good luck – he introduced me good vibes, good vitality,” stated Harden, including he would invite Hao “each recreation – right here on out.”
The Sixers face the Celtics in Boston for Sport 5 on Tuesday.
(Reporting by Amy Tennery in New York; Modifying by Lincoln Feast.)