James Harden is confident after 76ers' playoff win over Celtics: 'We’re coming in here to get Game 2'
James Harden is confident after 76ers' playoff win over Celtics: 'We’re coming in here to get Game 2'
James Harden makes confident claim after Sixers' Game 1 win

When Joel Embiid was ruled out for Game 1 against the Boston Celtics, the Philadelphia 76ers knew they needed a big night from James Harden. That's exactly what they got.

Harden balled out in Game 1, tying a playoff career-high with 45 points on an efficient 17-of-30 shooting to steal homecourt advantage and give the 76ers a surprising 1-0 series lead. 

Embiid, who has historically proven to be a thorn in the Celtics' side, averaged a monster 36.8 points, 11.8 rebounds and 4.3 assists in four games against Boston this season, including a 41-point night in February and a 52-point, 13-rebound explosion in their most recent matchup on April 4.

The MVP frontrunner missed Game 1 with a knee injury he suffered in the first round against the Brooklyn Nets, and while there is optimism he can return to the floor for Game 2 on Wednesday, Harden is confident the 76ers can repeat the trick at TD Garden in Game 2. 


“We didn’t come into the game expecting to lose,” Harden said postgame. “We’re here to win. Even after this one, I told guys don’t get too happy. We’re even-keeled. We’re coming in here to get Game 2 as well.

"That’s the mindset we have as a unit and whether Jo comes back or not, we’re gonna be ready to go … Obviously, he’s everything to this team, but whoever’s on the floor, let’s go win a game. “That’s what we did tonight.”

MORE: NBA Twitter reacts to James Harden's 45 points in 76ers' stunning Game 1 win over Celtics

Harden's Game 1 outing also put Harden alongside some 76ers legends. 

Only 5 players in 76ers history have recorded 45+ points in a Playoff game.

Allen Iverson (7 Games)
Lee Shaffer
Wilt Chamberlain
Billy Cunningham
James Harden pic.twitter.com/9mGCmkMrPN

— NBA History (@NBAHistory) May 2, 2023

Harden's first 40-point game in a 76ers uniform — and his first in two years — came at exactly the time the 76ers needed it as he turned back the clock with some trademark finishes at the rim and, of course, his patented stepback 3-pointer.

James Harden's game-winning 3-pointer vs. Celtics

With 8.4 seconds remaining in the game and the 76ers trailing 115-114, Harden turned back the clock.

Isolating Al Horford beyond the 3-point line, Harden hit the Celtics' big man with a hypnotic dribble combination, before rising up for the dagger to put the 76ers in front for good.

James Harden walks through the game-winning 3 that gave him 45 PTS 👀#NBAPlayoffs presented by Google Pixel pic.twitter.com/PgMK8gebJb

— NBA (@NBA) May 2, 2023

“I think PJ [Tucker] set the screen and I came off the screen and I was wondering if they were going to put two on the ball,” Harden said.

"So when they cross-screened, I pulled the ball back out, they just stayed on me one-on-one, so then I’m looking up and I’m just ‘Alright, this is what I work on every day’ so I take the best available shot no matter what it is. Just raise up and shoot it.”

76ers vs. Celtics schedule

Here is the complete schedule for the second-round series between Philadelphia and Boston, with games either airing on TNT or ESPN.

Fans in the United States can watch the NBA Playoffs on Sling TV, which is now offering HALF OFF your first month! Stream Sling Orange for $20 in your first month to catch all the games on TNT, ESPN & ABC. For games on NBA TV, subscribe to Sling Orange & Sports Extra for $27.50 in your first month. Local regional blackout restrictions apply.

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Date Game/Result Time (ET) TV channel
May 1 76ers 119, Celtics 115 7:30 p.m. TNT
May 3 Game 2 8 p.m. at Celtics TNT
May 5 Game 3 7:30 p.m. at 76ers ESPN
May 7 Game 4 3:30 p.m. at 76ers ESPN
May 9 Game 5* TBD at Celtics TNT
May 11 Game 6* TBD at 76ers ESPN
May 14 Game 7* TBD at Celtics TBD

*If necessary

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