The Philadelphia 76ers have just stolen homecourt advantage from the Boston Celtics — and they did it sans the services of MVP finalist Joel Embiid.
The 76ers needed someone to step up on the offensive end, and that came in the form of James Harden who put up 45 points on the night (15 in the 4th quarter) to best Jayson Tatum’s 39 points, 11 rebounds, and 5 assists outing.
It was a closely fought battle that saw Boston leading for most of the first half, though the team was never quite able to build a big enough margin as Philly remained within striking distance for the full duration of the game.
The three-point shot proved to be a weapon for the shorthanded 76ers as they made a total of 17 of their 38 attemps to make up 51 of their total team points. None was bigger than the pull-up shot made by Harden with 0:08 to go on the game clock to put his team up 117-115.
Celtics called a time-out but were unsuccessful in trying to score as Marcus Smart turned the ball over in his attempt to set up Tatum, who could not handle the last-second pass.
A couple more free throws by Paul Reed iced the game to end with a scoreline of 119-115 in favor of the visiting team.
“Defensively, I don’t think they felt us,” Al Horford expressed, speaking of Boston’s performance today.
On the other side of the court, however, James Harden took pride in the 76ers’ effort, saying, “We’re just a resilient team. Even without Joel, we’ve got the confidence to come in here and win games. We’ve been doing it all year long.”
Could this be the year that the Philadelphia 76ers finally get over the hump?
Banner image from NBA on Twitter.