James Harden, Joel Embiid power 76ers past Heat, even series 2-2
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James Harden took a sensational step in the post-season for the 76ers, including the step-back 3s, which revived his impressive form. Joel is playing even better with the Embiid game, and may have his best basketball in front of the MVP finalists.
Embiid ready. So is Harden. And if Miami can’t find the hit The Mask and Beard, the next thing they might face is offseason.
“I don’t think we played our best basketball,” said MBD.
Harden scored 31 points, MBD had 24 points and 11 rebounds, and the Philadelphia 76ers beat Miami 116-108 in Game 4 on Sunday night, even in the Eastern Conference semifinal series.
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The hit won the first two games at Miami with the right orbital fracture and the MBID out with a light connection. The 76ers won games 3 and 4 at home with their masks embedded and in lineup.
Game 5 is Tuesday night in Miami.
Oh yeah, this time there’s an embed ride. Not surprisingly, 76 people feel better about their prospects on this trip to Florida.
“Joel will be able to play,” said coach Doc Rivers with a smile.
The Heat went ahead and got into the fifth until Harden sank his fifth 3-pointer of the game with three minutes left. Harden crushed the hit in catch-and-shoot 3 and hit one clutch shot after another for 16 points in the fourth. He finally played in the post-season as the three-time scoring champion needed sixes when they traded for him in February.
“Actually nothing has changed. I just shot,” Harden said.
Harden drilled a step-back 3 for the 114-103 lead that drove the crowd into a frenzy – and the Sixers moved to Miami with new life. He finished with six 3s, nine assists and seven rebounds.
“It’s just James being James,” Rivers said. “I thought he was going to play a big game tonight. You can understand that.”
Jimmy Butler scored 40 points in 13 of 20 shots from the floor, 12 of 13 free throws, and nearly one hit. The Heat, who shot 38% off 3s in the season, missed 28 of 35 3-pointers.
Hit coach Eric Spoelstra said: “I thought we had some really good looks. We missed them.
Embiid created Game 3 Cubwebs and returned to the dominant form that earned him the season-long “MVP!” Achieved. Song by Philly Diehards. His first quarter was just as good for the center. He made 5 of 6 shots, including a 3-pointer, and 15 points to keep the Sixers ahead. Exhausted in Game 3 from the day of inactivity due to injury, MBD played all 12 minutes in the quarter.
A scary thought here for Miami.
“We haven’t seen Joel’s best yet in this series,” Rivers said. “He’s still trying to figure out how to play with the mask sliding across his face.”
After the first quarter was goalless, Harden followed Embid’s hot start and scored 13 in the second. He missed the first four shots of the game until he buried a 3 and then got rolling. He scored a bucket in transition during the 15-2 run and then waved his arm towards the crowd, urging them to be louder.
Philadelphia shot 64% off half the floor. But 10 turnovers – which converted Miami to 13 points – prevented the Sixers from extending the lead to double digits. The Sixers hit nine 3 seconds in Miami’s four halves.
Butler held the hit with six points in a row. He hit a lapel, nailed the embedded face – who whistled for a flaggrant, then helped his ex-teammate on his feet – and Butler made a free throw. Butler hit a 3 from possession and pulled to a hit 74-70.
Butler draws a third foul on the embed 1:37 converted a third and three-point game on the left that drew the hit into four. Butler trolled MBD on Instagram after the Sixers posted a picture of him in Musk and quoted a line from “The Dark Knight Rises.”
“(Explicit) Yo Mask,” Butler wrote.
Butler scored 17 points in the third, yet the hit was still 89-85 behind. The 76ers fans let him do it when Butler fired an airball into the fourth and Harden came down to the right and nailed a step-back 3 for a 97-85 lead.
Butler said of Harden, “He’s a good player. He did what he was supposed to do.”
Butler has scored 33 points in Game 3 and is carrying the heat. She mostly does it alone.
Embed, well, he has Harden.
“That’s why he’s here,” said MBD. “It’s only 2-2. We have a lot of work to do. But I’m excited about what we can do.”
Hit: Dwayne Deadman (Illness) came out of Game 4. … Lori, who scored her first bucket goal of the series in a layup, went into the locker room with a bulky hamstring in the first half. He missed four consecutive playoff games before Game 3 due to a strain on his left hamstring. Spoelstra said Lori was a “warrior” but was not sure if the Guard would play in Game 5.
76ers: Tobias Harris loses his voice and Bam Adebayo is in pain when he clicks on the windpipe towards the end of the game.
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