76ers Fueled By James Harden Bounce Back Game to Win Game 4
The Philadelphia 76ers needed James Harden to have a bounce back performance in order to win Game 4 in Philadelphia and tie their Eastern Conference Semi-Finals series against the Boston Celtics and he delivered.
Following poor performances in Game 2 and Game 3 of the series, Harden dropped 42 points on 16-for-23 shooting, including 6-for-9 from 3-point range, to go along with eight rebounds, nine assists, four steals, a block and just one turnover to fuel the Sixers overtime victory in Game 4.
As for what sparked the turnaround, Harden cited a text message from Sixers head coach Doc Rivers as providing a spark.
“I sent him a gospel song,” Rivers said, according to ESPN’s Tim Bontemps. “The title of it is, ‘You Know My Name?'”
Harden spoke about the text message following the game.
“I’m on my way to the game, and I get a text from Doc,” Harden said jokingly. “It’s a gospel song, and I’m like, ‘All right, whatever.’ So, I just tell my homies, ‘Let’s play the song.’ It’s a seven-minute song, but I let the whole song play.
“I was like, ‘All right, there’s got to be some kind of good juju in this song, or however he’s feeling, I want to feel like that.’ And I guess it worked.”
Harden’s performance was much needed, as Sixers superstar big man Joel Embiid said.
“That’s what he needs to do every night,” he explained. “It’s not about taking a lot of shots. It’s just about being aggressive, attacking the rim, finding guys, and he was fantastic tonight.”
Embiid has his own important impact on the game, who poured in 34 points and 14 rebounds following a pep talk from teammate PJ Tucker.
“Nobody can guard Joel one-on-one,” Tucker said. “There’s no way. I’m sorry. It’s no disrespect to [Horford] or anybody else. But I’ve guarded him for a lot of years, and when he’s aggressive and assertive, it’s impossible. And I seen him two, three plays in a row not do that. And we can’t have it. We can’t have it. Not with the season on the line. We can’t have it.”
Now the series heads back to Boston.
“Our goal is to go to Boston and win,” Embiid said. “I’ll be better. We just got to go out and find a win and come back here up 3-2.”