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Sunday’s Game 4 playoffs were exactly what fans want to see in competitive postseason play

James Harden was impressive on more than one level

Boston Celtics v Philadelphia 76ers - Game Four Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

After complaining that there have been some boring blowouts (and the Lakers hadn’t even tipped off when I submitted my piece), yesterday’s Eastern and Western Conference Semifinals games were both nail biters. Well worth the wait.

The Eastern Conference matchup between the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers had the added bonus of an overtime.

I have never been a fan of James Harden. His talent is undeniable, but I find his efforts to get fouled overshadow his contributions. Pair that with an inability to lead his team into the Finals, and I have bumped heads with many who stick to the fact that he is an elite basketball player.

Considering if overtime was 0.1 seconds longer, the Celtics would be sitting on a 3-1 lead heading back to Boston, the 76ers must be satisfied to come out even at two games apiece.

And then immediately after the game, James Harden took off his shoes, signed them, and handed them to John Hao.

Hao, a victim of a shooting at Michigan State last February during evening classes at Berkey Hall.

Harden learned after the shooting that Hao was a fan of his. He called the twenty-year-old to offer encouragement.

“I know it’s tough right now, just gotta be mentally strong,” Harden said in February in a video of the call. “Just think about the positive things and keep pushing. Keep fighting. I got you.”

Spurs fans have always been on the receiving end of Harden’s ire. Many, like me, might forget he is a flesh and blood man who has a platform to embrace positivity in the world both on and off the court.

I was thoroughly impressed, but I think my daughter said it best.

“So sweet and cool. After a very busy game, he took off his shoes and gave them to a very special guest.”

From the mouth of babes...

Follow that up with Game 4 in Phoenix where the Suns, who dropped their first two games, made a massive comeback to tie the series 2-2 before heading back to Denver.

in yesterday’s post, I was complaining about gales that aren't close. It doesn't get closer than a former MVP scoring a winning shot, escaping a Marcus Smart overtime game winner by a split second.

Or two former MVPs duking it out for a chance to head to the Western Conference Finals.

Both series are now tied 2-2.

Excited to see what the Game 5s brings.

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