James Harden is fighting against those playoff performance allegations. For the second time in the Philadelphia 76ers’ Eastern Conference Semifinals matchup against the Boston Celtics, Harden has led the team to victory.
With 19 seconds left in Game 3 and the Sixers staring at a 3-1 hole, Harden swished a corner 3-pointer to lead the Sixers to a 116-115 overtime victory. Harden finished the game with 42 points on 16-for-23 shooting. He also had eight rebounds, nine assists, and four steals.
Harden’s tag team partner, league MVP Joel Embiid, added 34 points and 13 rebounds.
In the postgame, Harden reveals a message from head coach Doc Rivers, including a gospel song that may have assisted in his performance.
“I’m on my way to the game, and I get a text from Doc,” Harden to ESPN. “It’s a gospel song, and I’m like, ‘All right, whatever.’ So, I just tell my homies, ‘Let’s play the song.’ It’s a seven-minute song, but I let the whole song play.”
He added, “I was like, ‘All right, there’s got to be some kind of good juju in this song, or however he’s feeling, I want to feel like that.’ And I guess it worked.”
The series will now shift back to Boston for Game 5 on Tuesday.