No Embiid, no problem as James Harden erupts for 45 points to help Sixers steal Game 1 win over Celtics.

No Embiid, no problem as James Harden erupts for 45 points to help Sixers steal Game 1 win over Celtics.

The Philadelphia 76ers opened Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals with an unlikely 119-115 win over Championship favourites, Boston Celtics, despite being without star man Joel Embiid.

James Harden rolled back the years to lift the short-handed Sixers to victory over the Celtics, scoring 45 points on a night to remember. 

Harden lifts 76ers past Celtics

Jayson Tatum tried to inspire the home team with an impressive 39 points and 11 rebounds but it just wasn’t enough.

While James Harden predictably stepped up offensively, it was actually crucial 3-pointers from players like De’Anthony Melton and Tobias Harris (18 points) that kept the Sixer in the game. 

Melton, in particular, was a huge boost off the bench to start the game, tossing in 17 points on five 3-pointers in just the first half – almost matching Harden’s 21 first-half points.

It was hugely important for the Sixers to steal a road win and in the process, earn home-court advantage in the series.

They are still underdogs without Embiid, but as he recovers from that sprained LCL, Doc Rivers, and his team have already accomplished what they set out to do upon arriving in Boston.

Pulse Sports had an interesting conversation with the Nigerian NBA Africa Academy player Churchill Abass on the sidelines of the 2023 NBA All-Star weekend.

He discusses humble beginnings, navigating a basketball career in chaotic Lagos and eventually living his dreams.

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