76ers and Suns earn Game 4 wins to even respective series

By Sports Desk May 08, 2023

A huge bounce-back performance from James Harden got the Philadelphia 76ers right back in their Eastern Conference semifinal series with the Boston Celtics.

Harden capped a 42-point effort by hitting a game-winning 3-pointer with 19 seconds left in overtime, lifting the 76ers to a crucial 116-115 Game 4 victory on Sunday that evened the series at 2-2.

The 2017-18 NBA MVP earlier forced overtime by hitting a 16-foot floater with 16.4 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, and rebounded strongly from subpar outings in Philadelphia’s losses in Games 2 and 3. Harden shot a combined 5-of-28 from the field in those games, but finished 16 of 23 in Sunday’s win while making 6 of 9 attempts from 3-point range.

Boston’s Marcus Smart nearly answered Harden’s winning shot with some late heroics of his own, but got off a 3-point attempt that went through the net a split second after the final buzzer sounded as the Sixers held on.

Joel Embiid added 34 points and 13 rebounds for the 76ers, who blew a 16-point third-quarter lead and trailed 105-100 with two minutes left in regulation before closing out the fourth quarter with a 7-2 run.

Jayson Tatum shook off an 0-of-8 shooting start to finish with 24 points and 18 rebounds and help key the Celtics’ comeback in regulation. Jaylen Brown ended with 23 points and Smart had 21.

Game 5 will take place Tuesday in Boston.
 

Suns withstand Jokic’s 53 points to pull even with Nuggets

Kevin Durant and Devin Booker each scored 36 points and the Phoenix Suns overcame a monster game from Nikola Jokic to earn a 129-124 victory over the Denver Nuggets in Game 4 of the teams’ Western Conference semifinal.

The Suns recorded their second straight home win to even the series at 2-2 despite Jokic amassing a Nuggets’ playoff-record 53 points on 20-of-30 shooting.

Booker had 17 points in the third quarter to help Phoenix take a 98-92 lead into the fourth, and the Suns stretched the advantage to 116-106 on Landry Shamet’s 3-pointer with 4:56 left.

Denver countered with a 12-5 run to close within 121-118 with under two minutes remaining, but the Suns kept the West’s top seed at bay by going 8 for 8 from the foul line in the closing stages.

Jokic’s 53 points were a career high and eclipsed the Nuggets’ single-game record for a playoff game of 50, set twice by teammate Jamal Murray in 2020.

Shamet delivered four 3-pointers in the fourth quarter and finished with 19 points off the bench for Phoenix, which will head back to Denver for Tuesday’s Game 5. The home team has won every meeting in the series thus far.

Related items

  • Doncic: Mavericks will 'believe until the end' after avoiding Finals sweep Doncic: Mavericks will 'believe until the end' after avoiding Finals sweep

    Luka Doncic's Dallas Mavericks will "believe until the end" after they kept their NBA title hopes alive with a Game 4 victory over the Boston Celtics.

    The Celtics headed to Dallas on Friday with the chance to clinch a first NBA Championship since 2008, up 3-0 in the series and looking to get the job done on the road.

    However, Dallas dominated on their home court, cruising to a 122-84 blowout victory that means Boston will have to wait until at least Monday to seal a record-breaking 18th NBA title.

    No team has ever come from 3-0 down in an NBA playoff series, but Doncic says his Mavericks team will not let that deflate their hopes of pulling off a hugely unlikely comeback.

    "Like I said at the beginning of the series, it's first to four," Doncic told reporters. "We're going to believe until the end.

    "So we've just got to keep going. I have big belief in this team that we can do it."

    Doncic was facing criticism heading into Game 4 after fouling out in the latter stages of the previous contest, but he led the way with 29 points on Friday to help his team ease to victory.

    Kyrie Irving believes Doncic proved the doubters wrong with his Game 4 showing, saying: "I think he made a few people eat their words in a healthy way.

    "I think what you're seeing is him just taking accountability as best he can at this point in his life. He's a young person, still trying to figure it out. I give him that grace. 

    "I think it's just lessons being learned. When he is locked in like that, not paying attention to the refs, he's a huge, impactful player for us and a great leader for us. We want him to stay consistent on that and not be too hard on himself either."

  • Brown: Celtics must 'reassemble' after missing chance to clinch title in Game 4 Brown: Celtics must 'reassemble' after missing chance to clinch title in Game 4

    The Boston Celtics must "reassemble" after missing the chance to clinch the NBA Championship on Friday, says Jaylen Brown.

    The Celtics headed into Game 4 on the road at the Dallas Mavericks looking to complete the sweep and seal their first title since 2008.

    However, they were outplayed by their hosts, slumping to a 122-84 blowout loss to end their 10-match playoff winning run and leave them with work to do if they are to get over the finishing line.

    The Celtics now head home with the opportunity to get the job done on Monday, and Brown has called upon his team-mates to bounce back from Friday's 38-point defeat.

    "These are the moments that can make you or break you," Brown told reporters.

    "We have to reassemble. We have to look at it and learn from it, and then we've got to embrace it and attack it.

    "It's going to be hard to do what we're trying to do. We didn't expect anything to be easy, but it's no reason to lose our head."

    Dallas dominated from start to finish in Game 3, holding an 11-point lead just nine minutes into the contest and never looking back as they stamped out any hopes of a Boston comeback.

    Brown praised the Mavericks for their response to losing the first three games of the series, saying: "Give credit to Dallas.

    "I think they played hard physically, and then they dominated the glass. I think that was the key that put a lot of pressure on us.

    "And then we didn't make shots tonight, and I think that's where, you know, we allowed them to play free, once we get them multiple opportunities to make shots, and then also we didn't hit shots on the other end.

    "We're going to look at the film and see where we can get better, and then go from there."

  • NBA: Mavericks roll past Celtics to avoid sweep in NBA Finals NBA: Mavericks roll past Celtics to avoid sweep in NBA Finals

    Luka Dončić scored 25 of his 29 points in a dominant first half and the Dallas Mavericks rolled to a 122-84 rout of the Boston Celtics to avoid a sweep in Game 4 of the NBA Finals on Friday night.

    Kyrie Irving added 21 points and Tim Hardaway Jr. scored all 15 of his in the fourth quarter for the Mavericks, who forced the series back to Boston for Game 5 on Monday night.

    Dallas opened a 13-point lead after one quarter, were up 26 at halftime and led by as many as 38 in the third before both sides emptied their benches.

    Dereck Lively had 11 points and 12 rebounds for the Mavs, and connected on the first 3-pointer of his NBA career midway through the first quarter.

    The 38-point final margin was the third-biggest ever in an NBA Finals game, behind only Chicago beating Utah 96-54 in 1998 and the Celtics beating the Lakers 131-92 in 2008.

    Jayson Tatum scored 15 points and Sam Hauser had 14 for Boston, which had its franchise-record, 10-game postseason winning streak snapped.

    The Celtics shot 36.3 percent (29 for 80) from the field and were outrebounded 52-31.

    The 35 points in the first half represented their lowest-scoring total in a half in Joe Mazzulla’s two seasons as coach. The 26-point deficit at halftime was Boston’s largest ever in an NBA Finals game.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.