Philadelphia 76ers guard James Harden totaled 42 points, nine assists, eight rebounds and four steals in a playoff win over the Boston Celtics on Sunday in Philadelphia. File Photo by Aaron Josefczyk/UPI | License Photo
May 8 (UPI) -- James Harden scored a game-high 42 points, including a game-winning 3-pointer in overtime, to lead the Philadelphia 76ers to a dramatic win over the Boston Celtics in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinal series.
The 76ers led by as many as 16 points before the Celtics rallied, but Harden helped fend them off to secure the 116-115 triumph Sunday at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.
The series is now tied 2-2. Game 5 of the best-of-seven game matchup will be Tuesday at TD Garden in Boston.
"I just want to win, no matter how it plays out," Harden said. "I just want to win. Quite frankly, [Game 4] was do-or-die for us."
76ers center Joel Embiid and Celtics forward Jaylen Brown scored 12 points apiece over the first 12 minutes. The 76ers carried a 27-19 lead into the second quarter. The 76ers scored 10 unanswered points to end the quarter.
Harden poured in 15 over the next 12 minutes. The 76ers outscored the Celtics 32-31 in the frame and led 59-50 at halftime.
The 76ers pushed their advantage to 16 multiple times in the third. The Celtics ended the quarter on an 8-2 run to cut the deficit to nine points. Celtics forward Jayson Tatum scored 13 in the third quarter.
The Celtics went on a 15-4 run to earn a 98-96 lead with 3:51 remaining in regulation. Veteran guard Malcolm Brogdon hit a 3-pointer less than two minutes later for a 5-point Celtics edge.
The 76ers scored five unanswered to tie the score with 1:06 remaining. Celtics guard Marcus Smart followed with two made free throws for a 107-105 lead with 51.3 seconds left. Harden then answered with a floating layup to tie the score and force overtime.
Maxey started the bonus period with a layup. The Celtics responded with five unanswered. Embiid netted a fadeaway with 2:40 left in overtime to cut the deficit to 112-111. He followed with two made free throws about two minutes later for a one-point edge.
Tatum made a step back 3-pointer on the next possession, giving the Celtics a 115-113 advantage.
Embiid dribbled into the paint to start the final possession. He then threw a pass to Harden, who stood in the right corner. Harden caught the feed and fired up his final attempt. He drained the 3-pointer for a one-point edge with 18.2 seconds remaining.
The Celtics did not get their final attempt off before the buzzer sounded on the game's last possession.
Harden made 16 of 23 shots en route to his game-high point total. He chipped in nine assists, eight rebounds and four steals. Embiid totaled 34 points, 13 rebounds and four assists. Maxey logged 14 points and eight rebounds.
Tatum totaled 24 points, 18 rebounds, six assists and four blocks. Brown scored 23 points in the loss. Smart scored 21 for the Celtics.
The No. 2 Celtics will face the No. 3 76ers in Game 5 at 7:30 p.m. EDT Tuesday in Boston. The winner of the series will face the No. 8 Miami Heat or No. 5 New York Knicks in the Eastern Conference finals. The Heat hold a 2-1 lead in that series.