Celtics Wrap: James Harden Sparks 76ers Past Boston In OT To Even Series

The Celtics couldn't close out their comeback


May 7, 2023

The Philadelphia 76ers got the bounce-back win they desperately needed in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, but needed overtime to obtain it, pulling out a 116-115 victory over the Boston Celtics at Wells Fargo Center.

The 76ers even up the best-of-seven series at 2-2.

Check out the full box score here.

Even after dominating in the first half and opening up a 15-point lead in the second half, the 76ers never felt comfortably in control as they left the door open for a Celtics comeback.

The Celtics barged through that opening midway through the fourth quarter and had leads at the end of regulation and in overtime, but they couldn’t close things out. They overtook the 76ers in the fourth quarter, had the final shot of regulation and held a lead with less than 30 seconds left in the extra frame.

But it still wasn’t enough. The Celtics also nearly stole a win when Marcus Smart drilled a 3-pointer as time expired in overtime. But the Celtics paid the price for taking too long to get into their final set as Smart just barely didn’t get the shot off in time. And many will question Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla for not calling a timeout in that situation and keeping them in his pocket.

Instead of a thrilling victory and taking a stranglehold on the series, the Celtics are now in second-guess mode by not closing out their comeback.

— James Harden shook off back-to-back rough games — he shot a combined 5-for-28 in two straight Philadelphia loss — with a game-changing performance. The 10-time All-Star guard poured in a game-high 42 points, including hitting the game-winning 3-pointer from the corner with 19 seconds left, on 16-for-23 shooting. He also dished out nine assists and grabbed eight rebounds.

— Joel Embiid gave the Celtics plenty of issues once again. The NBA MVP posted a double-double of 34 points and 13 rebounds as he was aided by a 12-for-15 showing at the free-throw line. It’s his second straight game of at least 30 points.

— Jayson Tatum got off to an incredibly slow start, but was key to Boston’s comeback. He scored 22 of his 24 points after halftime while totaling an eye-popping 18 rebounds. He also registered six assists and four blocks.

Malcolm Brogdon continues to be the catalyst for the Celtics off the bench. FanDuel Sportsbook set Brogdon’s over/under for total points at 14.5 with -106 odds on the Over. Brogdon finished with 19 points as a $100 wager on this pro bet would have netted a total of $194.34.

The Celtics and 76ers face off in a pivotal Game 5 on Tuesday night at TD Garden. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET.

Thumbnail photo via Eric Hartline/USA TODAY Sports Images
Philadelphia 76ers guard James Harden and Boston Celtics forward Grant Williams
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