The Celtics could not have imagined a more cruel end. Damaged by the three points of a heroic James Harden 19 seconds from the end of overtime, Boston lost by the narrowest of margins to Philadelphia (116-115, ap) this Sunday. Marcus Smart’s successful shot at the buzzer left too late to change the final result, bringing the series to 2-2.
Led since the end of the first quarter, the visitors needed a feat to overthrow the Sixers on their floor. So that’s what they did, with renewed energy, defense and skill. on the edge to regain the advantage four minutes from time and until the last 20 seconds. But Harden, the man of the game, sent the game into overtime with a decisive penetration 16.4 seconds from the end of regulation time.
During electric overtime, the two teams went in quick succession, chaining baskets crazier than each other. At Jayson Tatum’s cool three-pointer 38 seconds from the final buzzer, Joel Embiid responded with a pass for Harden from the corner to give the victory to his side.
The Sixers duo in all its glory
For this critical confrontation, which it was absolutely necessary to win to avoid finding themselves back against the wall, the Sixers were able to count on the good James Harden. Not the one who scored only 5 baskets for 28 attempts in the last two meetings, therefore. He scored 16/23, for a total of 42 points along with 8 rebounds and 9 assists, to ensure victory for his team.
His regular-season MVP teammate secured his status despite apparent discomfort in his right knee. Author of 34 points (11/16 on shots) and 13 rebounds, he made all the difference for his team.
Jayson Tatum (24 points at 9/20 on shots and 18 rebounds) made up for his slump in the first half with a second period of high flight, which however was not enough to snatch the victory. Apathetic in the first half and a hair’s breadth from the robbery, the Celtics will have to pull themselves together in Boston for Game 5 (Wednesday at 1:30 a.m.).