James Harden clutch as Sixers grind out Game 4 win to even sequence

3 observations after Harden, Sixers grind out Game 4 slugfest to even sequence initially appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

The cliché about playoff sequence not starting till a group wins on the street — one James Harden used after the Sixers’ Game 2 loss in Miami — sounds doubtful for the time being.

The Sixers gained their second consecutive contest in Philadelphia on Sunday night time, knotting their second-round sequence towards the Heat at two video games apiece with a intense, foul-filled 116-108 win at Wells Fargo Center.

Harden introduced them to the end line with tons of clutch shotmaking. He recorded 31 factors, 9 assists and 7 rebounds.

Joel Embiid had 24 factors and 11 rebounds. All 5 Sixers starters and Georges Niang scored in double figures.

Jimmy Butler was nice with 40 factors in a shedding effort.

Dewayne Dedmon missed Sunday’s recreation with an sickness. Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra stated pregame the backup middle is “day to day” and examined adverse for COVID-19.

Game 5 shall be Tuesday night time in Miami. Here are observations on the Sixers’ Game 4 victory:

Embiid again in enterprise offensively

The Sixers have been decided early on to get Embiid deep catches towards smaller defenders.

That meant looking for the precise angles to capitalize on Miami’s switching and fronting, in addition to manipulating the Heat so assist defenders have been momentarily out of the image. Harden pulled it off on two fairly high-low passes, and Tobias Harris additionally fed Embiid for a straightforward first-quarter bucket.

Threading the needle isn’t computerized, although. Harden dedicated three turnovers within the first interval, together with one when he couldn’t completely loft the ball into Embiid on the rim. And he struck the rim itself on the same try within the second quarter. It’s tempting to force-feed Embiid, however the Sixers will typically have higher choices. Miami tried to make these difficult to discover at occasions by selecting up Harden full court docket.

Embiid was very extensive left on his first three-point try, however he banked in his second. He drew the third foul on Gabe Vincent with 8.4 seconds left within the first quarter when the Heat guard scrapped with Embiid for place on the prime of Miami’s zone. Embiid’s two free throws gave him 15 factors (on 5-for-6 taking pictures) within the opening quarter — simply three fewer than he scored Friday in his Game 3 return to motion — and put the Sixers up 30-28.

Wearing a masks to guard his proper orbital fracture and taking part in on a torn ligament in his proper thumb, Embiid after all gained’t be his finest bodily anytime quickly. The begin of Game 4 was not less than an encouraging indication that he can nonetheless dominate video games on each ends.

Working round extra Harden foul bother

Even earlier than Harden was known as for his second foul on a cost with 3:05 to go within the first, Shake Milton remained in Sixers head coach Doc Rivers’ versatile rotation. Furkan Korkmaz didn’t play Sunday. The thought of Korkmaz minutes is definitely much less interesting when the Sixers’ exterior taking pictures is good and Milton reveals he’s a succesful two-way participant.

The Sixers made a few key threes with Harden sitting. Matisse Thybulle hit his first triple since Game 2 of the primary spherical. Tyrese Maxey drained one towards the Miami zone, too. Bam Adebayo and the Heat’s offense generally have been unsurprisingly stronger with Embiid on the bench. The Sixers trailed by three factors when he checked again in, and that didn’t appear to be a foul consequence in any respect for Paul Reed’s first stint.

Danny Green heard “Dan-ny!” chants on the foul line following a private 6-0 run. He began 3 for 3 from lengthy vary after a 7-for-9 efficiency in Game 3. It’s been a nice regression to the imply for Green, who went simply 2 for 14 from three over Games 1 and a pair of.

Those jumpers have been momentum-turners. Harden briefly received right into a groove, sinking a step-back three over Butler to increase the Sixers’ result in 56-46. The Sixers then weathered a mini-Butler flurry to enter halftime up eight regardless of zero second-quarter factors from their star massive man.

Harden big in second-half slugfest

A Green entanglement with former teammate Kyle Lowry compelled the 34-year-old to exit early within the third quarter with 4 fouls. Niang entered.

Maxey hinted at extra second-half magic following a 21-point post-intermission efficiency in Game 3 because the 21-year-old drew two free throws on a baseline drive and knocked down a 3.

Tobias Harris then joined Green with 4 fouls a little bit below 5 minutes into the third. Thybulle changed him and slammed in a dunk when Embiid discovered him free alongside the baseline. Niang additionally made an necessary shot, replying to a Butler three that reduce the Sixers’ edge to 74-70 with one in every of his personal.

As the quite a few notes about fouls above counsel, the sport’s physicality escalated within the third quarter and nobody on both group appeared happy with the officiating in addition to the participant taking pictures free throws. Adebayo, P.J. Tucker and Max Strus all have been assessed their fourth fouls within the third. Philadelphia native Markieff Morris performed his first postseason minutes as Miami most well-liked the veteran ahead over rookie middle Omer Yurtseven.

Sure sufficient, it took Morris a couple of minute to foul Embiid. And Embiid later emphatically denied an bold Morris fadeaway jumper.

The Sixers evaporated any uneasiness about Embiid’s time on the sidelines to start the fourth, stringing collectively stops and benefiting from a second straight tough Heat taking pictures night time (7 for 35 from three-point vary). Harden did precisely what the group wanted on the opposite finish, helping a Harris three, making two foul photographs, and sinking a triple that prolonged the Sixers’ benefit to 97-85.

He was nowhere close to finished making huge photographs. The 10-time All-Star transformed a 3 over Adebayo and drove previous him for a layup earlier than burying one other long-distance jumper that put the Sixers forward by eight with three minutes left.

Harden let free an exultant scream after one more three. That shot gave him 30-plus factors for the second time as a Sixer and ensured the sequence hasn’t but begun, not less than by one definition.

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