James Harden stepped up in Game 4 versus the Miami Heat and the Philadelphia 76ers are now very much alive in their Eastern Conference semifinals series. On Sunday night in Philadelphia, Harden finished with 31 points, seven rebounds and nine assists as the 76ers claimed a 116-108 win.
16 of Harden's 31 points came in the fourth quarter. "We're getting more confident as the series goes on," Harden said, per ESPN. "Those first two games [were] a blur. But obviously, having Joel and having our full team, we kind of know what to expect.
"We know where to execute on both ends of the ball. It just makes the job a lot easier. Think about: We're still a fairly new team. We're damn near two months. So when we finally catch a rhythm and finally find something that works, Joel goes off for a couple games.
"So we're finally settling into the series, and we've had some great things that have worked tonight and that we can capitalize off in Game 5."
Harden came up big in Game 3
The 76ers were without Joel Embiid in Games 1 and 2 and they easily dropped those two games to the Heat.
Once the series shifted to Philadelphia, Harden started playing much better and the 76ers and Heat are now tied to two wins apiece in their series. "We need him to be aggressive," 76ers forward Tobias Harris said.
"But he does a great job of evaluating the game, [finding] where he can make plays where he can take shots. Tonight, he got going. You're just seeing the confidence in him getting downhill, and then the three ball opening up for him.
"What we really need him to do on a nightly basis is what he does. Just be solid for us and be able to really pick apart the defense, and how they're playing him. He sees so many defensive coverages out there on floor.
A lot of times they zone up the court as well, so sometimes it's tough for him to be extremely aggressive on the offensive end. But when he's in a groove like that, we just get him the ball and keep it going."
The 76ers' chances of winning the series massively increased following wins in Games 3 and 4. The 76ers will be hoping to win a third consecutive versus the Heat in Game 5 in Miami.