The Philadelphia 76ers are still on a roll thanks to James Harden's clutch play.
Philadelphia improved to 31-16 and extended its winning streak to six with a 137-133 victory over the Brooklyn Nets in Wednesday's potential playoff preview at Wells Fargo Center. It nearly blew a 17-point lead in the second half, but the 10-time All-Star took over with a number of game-swinging plays down the stretch to provide just enough firepower to escape with a win.
He connected on back-to-back step-back three-pointers in the final four minutes after Seth Curry tied it with a triple, stripped Kyrie Irving on the ensuing possession, and converted a layup to push the lead to four in the final 30 seconds.
Harden drew plenty of praise for his efforts on social media as a result:
It was an emotional contest with the crowd booing Ben Simmons whenever he had the ball, trash-talking on both sides and seven technical fouls. It was also defense optional for the first quarter with both teams pouring in 41 points, but the 76ers gradually seized control with a balanced effort.
Tyrese Maxey provided a spark off the bench with his three-point shooting, De'Anthony Melton found his stroke from deep, and Joel Embiid continued to attack the basket and go at it with Nic Claxton even after the Nets big man swatted one of his dunk attempts.
Throw in Harden facilitating when defenders collapsed on him, and it seemed to be a straightforward win against a Nets side that was still without Kevin Durant because of a MCL sprain.
Yet Brooklyn came roaring back behind 32 points from Curry and 30 points and 10 assists from Kyrie Irving. Fortunately for the home team, Harden was there to play the hero role just in time.
He will look to do the same Saturday when the 76ers host the Denver Nuggets.