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Clutch James Harden helps 76ers beat Heat, tie playoff series 2-2

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Clutch James Harden helps 76ers beat Heat, tie playoff series 2-2
Philadelphia 76ers guard James Harden scored 25 points in the second half of a playoff win over the Miami Heat on Sunday in Philadelphia. Photo by Rhona Wise/EPA-EFE/RHONA WISE

May 9 (UPI) — Star guard James Harden scored 16 of his team-high 31 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Philadelphia 76ers past the Miami Heat in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, tying the series at 2-2.

NBA MVP candidate Joel Embiid chipped in 24 points and 11 rebounds in the 116-108 win Sunday at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. The best-of-seven game series will now go back to Miami on Tuesday for Game 5.


“I just took what the defense gave me,” Harden told reporters. “They were the same shots, I just made some. Nothing really changed, I just made some shots.

“That group that started the fourth quarter did a really good job of pushing the lead up.”

Game 4 featured 17 lead changes and was tied 11 times. The 76ers outshot the Heat 54.4% to 46.3% from the floor. They also outshot the Heat 48.5% to 20% on 3-pointers. Heat forward Jimmy Butler scored a game-high 40 points in the loss.

“We are going to take the same shots next game, and they are going to fall, because that’s the way we’ve bene playing all year long,” Butler said. “We aren’t scared of missing shots.”


The lead changed hands 13 times in the first quarter. Embiid totaled 13 points in the frame to help the 76ers carry a 30-28 edge into the second.

The game stayed tight over the next 12 minutes. The 76ers ended the quarter on a 7-2 run to take a 64-54 lead at halftime. Harden score 13 points in the second. Butler scored a dozen for the Heat.

The Heat put together a 10-3 run in the third to climb back into the game. Butler scored 17 in the frame, but the 76ers led 89-85 to start the fourth.

The 76ers scored eight unanswered to start the final quarter. The Heat answered with a 12-3 run to cut the deficit to five points with 4:42 remaining, but would not get closer.

Butler made 13 of 20 shots from the floor and a dozen free throw attempts for his 40-point night. Heat center Bam Adebayo chipped in 21 points in the loss. Heat guard Tyler Herro scored 11 points and grabbed 10 rebounds off the bench.

The Heat outscored the 76ers 48-34 in the paint, 19-18 off fast breaks, 28-19 off the bench and 25-11 off turnovers in the loss.


Game 5 will tip off at 7:30 p.m. EDT Tuesday at FTX Arena in Miami. The winner of the series will face the Milwaukee Bucks or Boston Celtics in the conference finals. The Bucks lead that series 2-1.

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