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Sunday, December 04, 2022

Harden, Embiid Power 76ers Last Heat, Even Series 2-2

PHILADELPHIA ( Associated Press) — James Harden scored 31 points, Joel Embiid had 24 points and 11 rebounds as the Philadelphia 76ers beat the Miami Heat 116-108 in Game 4 on Sunday night to enter the Eastern Conference Semifinals series.

The Heat won the first two games in Miami with Embiid with a right orbital fracture and a mild concussion. The 76ers embed at home and with their masks on the lineup won Games 3 and 4.

Game 5 is Tuesday night in Miami.

Embed is ready. So it’s Harden. And if the Heat can’t locate the two of them, the next thing they face could be the off-season.

The Heat took the lead and reached within five until Harden dropped his fifth 3-pointer of the game with three minutes remaining. Harden crushed the Heat on catch-and-shoot 3s and hit one clutch shot after another in the fourth.

He last played in the postseason like the three-time scoring champion Sixers needed when they were traded for him in February.

Harden drilled a step-back 3 for a 114-103 lead that sent the crowd into a frenzy – and the Sixers headed to Miami with new life.

Jimmy Butler scored 40 points and nearly a man propelled the Heat to victory. The Heat missed 28 of 35 3-pointers.

Embiid worked on Game 3 Cobweb and returned in major form which earned him the season-long “MVP!” earned. Mantras from Philly Diehards. His first quarter was almost as good as it was for the center. He made 5 of 6 shots, including a 3-pointer, and scored 15 points to advance the Sixers. Tired in Game 3 from days of inactivity due to concussion, Embiid played all 12 minutes in the quarter.

“He’s really weathering the storm and getting through stuff,” coach Doc Rivers said before the game.

Harden took over the next quarter. Without a score in the first quarter, Harden scored 13 runs in the second quarter. He missed his first four shots of the game until he buried a 3 and then rolled. He made a bucket in the transition during a 15-2 run and then waved to the crowd, asking for a loud call.

Philadelphia shot 64% from the floor in the half. But 10 turnovers – that Miami converted to 13 points – kept the Sixers from stretching the lead well into double digits. The Sixers made nine 3s in half of Miami’s four.

Butler kept the Heat in the game with six consecutive points. He hit a layup, was nailed to the face by Embiid – who was whistled for a flag, then helped his former teammate to his feet – and Butler made a free throw. Butler scored 3 runs from possession and the heats reached 74-70.

Butler drew Embiid’s third foul with 1:37 left in the third and converted a three-point game that kept the Heat within four. Butler trolled Embiid on Instagram when the Sixers posted a photo of him in a mask and cited a line from “The Dark Knight Rises.”

Butler wrote, “(expletive) yo mask.”

Butler scored 17 points in the third, yet the Heat still trailed 89-85. 76ers fans let him do it when Butler fired an airball in the fourth and Harden came right down and took 3 steps back for a 97–85 lead.

Tip-ins

Heat: Dwayne Deadman (Illness) exits Game 4. … Laurie, who made his first bucket of the series on a layup, walked into the locker room in the first half with a balky hamstring. He missed four straight playoff games before Game 3 with a left hamstring strain.

76ers: Isaiah Joe (sprained right ankle) didn’t play.

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More Associated Press NBA coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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