James Harden will therefore have waited for Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semi-final to find his skills as a scorer, and above all to take the game on his own. We are in the 4th quarter, and Embiid is on the bench. It’s time for the All-Star guard to take over, and put his team on his shoulders.
This is what he will do by planting 16 of his 31 points in the last quarter, and we obviously remember this “step back” which gives a 12-point lead at the start of the 4th quarter. The room and the Philly bench explode, and James Harden lets his rage explode. This may be the first time we have seen him in the Sixers jersey.
“That’s why he’s here!” »
“That’s why he’s here. That’s why we brought him here.” explains Joel Embiid. “Since he’s been there, he’s adjusted to what we need, whether it’s creation, or points like this evening. Seeing how they defend on others, he had to take some tough shots. That’s what he’s been doing all his career, and that’s why he’s here! »
What Doc Rivers remembers is that Philly took the break while Joel Embiid rested, and that bodes well.
“Joel needed a rest, and when that group came on the court, we caused fouls, we increased the lead, and when Joel came back in, they were already in the penalty spot” says Doc Rivers. ” It’s huge. At that point, every time they touch you, they foul, you go over the line and you have pitches. It’s important to us. »
In this 4th inning, James Harden took only 18 shots, but he was involved in 54 of 98 points (or 55%) for the Sixers when he was on the field.
“Nothing has really changed. I just put in a few shots…” assures the former MVP, who recalls that he has only been there since February. “We are still a fairly new team. We are barely two months old. We’re finally positioning ourselves in this series, and tonight we found some things that worked.”
” We had three minutes to create the biggest gap possible, and try to go up to more than 10 points ahead.
For Tobias Harris, James Harden adapts to what the defense gives him, and the many passages in zone of the Heat forced him to take more of his chance. Successful: 6 out of 10 from 3-pointers.
“He does a great job of analyzing the game” believes the Sixers winger. “In his way of analyzing the moments when he has the right to create, and those when he has to take his shots. Tonight, we could see his confidence, and after going to the circle, the 3-point positions opened up for him. He sees so many different defensive covers in front of him. Often they are in the zone, and sometimes it is difficult for him to be aggressive in attack. But when he finds his rhythm, you just have to give him the ball, and things follow. »
For James Harden, it’s all about “defense and pace”. “In the 4th quarter, that’s where the game is played. Jo had done a great job to put us in a good position. Especially in the 3rd quarter. In the 4th quarter, we started with possession, and we had three minutes to create the biggest gap possible, and try to go up to more than 10 points in advance. We did a good job thanks to our defense and our pace. »
|2020-21 *||All Teams||44||37||46.6||36.2||86.1||0.8||7.1||7.9||10.8||2.3||1.2||4.0||0.8||24.6|
|2021-22 *||All Teams||65||37||41.0||33.0||87.7||0.9||6.9||7.7||10.3||2.4||1.3||4.4||0.6||22.0|