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HomeSportsSeries Tied: Sixers Leader Says ‘Little More Pressure’ on Miami Heat

Series Tied: Sixers Leader Says ‘Little More Pressure’ on Miami Heat


Danny Green has exploded in the last two games for the Sixers in the Eastern Conference semifinals vs. Miami.

Lock it and leave it. Lock it and leave it. Those were the words coming out of Danny Green’s mouth following the Philadelphia 76ers’ 116-108 win in Game 4. The Eastern Conference semifinals are all tied up at 2-2 now, thanks to the return of Joel Embiid and Green’s sudden shooting inferno.

The three-time NBA champion was ice cold to start the series, going 2-for-14 from the 3-point line in Game 1 and Game 2 for a combined 8 points. But Green got his groove back in Game 3 along with his silky-smooth jumper. He went 3-for-4 from deep for 11 points in Game 4, two nights after going 7-for-9 for 21 points.

Safe to say Green’s shot is back. Ditto for his championship leadership. TNT’s Shaquille O’Neal asked him which team is facing more pressure now that the series is tied. Green shook off the question at first, saying “we’re not really focused on that” then admitted that there was probably a “little more pressure” on Miami.

“I mean, we’re not really focused on that,” Green told O’Neal on the TNT post-game show. “We’re trying to focus on what we need to do. I think the pressure is equal now. It’s 0-0. So it’s the first of two. But I’m going to keep taking your advice on shooting, make sure to lock it and leave it. The last one I missed, I didn’t lock and leave it and stick.

“We know coming into that building [FTX Arena in Miami], they might have a little more pressure on them because they’re at home but it’s not a series until someone wins on the road but they have homecourt advantage so we have to put some pressure on them and try and get a win in their building.”

The “lock it and leave it” part is a reference to the shooting advice given to Green by O’Neal. Essentially it means don’t be afraid to let the bally fly: shoot it unapologetically – lock your hands, fire the shot, live with the result. Lock it and leave it.

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Jimmy Butler: ‘I’m Not Scared of Him’

Jimmy Butler put on a show, especially in the third quarter when he scored 17 points. The former Sixer finished with 40 points in 42 minutes, along with six assists and three rebounds. He went 13-for-20 from the field (2-of-6 from deep) while going 12-for-13 from the foul line.

Butler single-handedly kept the Heat in the contest and matched up against Embiid with Bam Adebayo in foul trouble. Miami was forced to go to a small-ball lineup: Butler, Oladipo, Vincent, Herro, Tucker. It didn’t matter. Butler attacked the 7-footer in the paint, not backing down and slipping past Embiid for a big and-one opportunity.

“Jo’s a hell of a player, that’s my guy, too. But I’m not scared of him either,” Butler told reporters. “I don’t think anybody is. Ain’t nobody scared of nobody in this matchup, so I’ll attack him like I attack anybody else. I like it. He takes that challenge, as the MVP, as that team’s best player that’s what he’s supposed to do.”

James Harden Finally Breaks Out

If Jimmy Butler took over the third quarter, then James Harden owned the fourth. The Sixers star exploded for 16 points in the final frame, including four dagger triples to seal the deal. After the game, Harden looked at the cameras sheepishly and stated the obvious.

“I just took what the defense gave me,” Harden told reporters. “Same shots, just made some [tonight], nothing really changed.”

Harden went 6-for-10 from the 3-point line in Game 4. Prior to that, he had gone a combined 4-for-19 in the first three contests. He finished with 31 points, too, the most for him since dropping 32 on Milwaukee way back on March 29. This was the vintage Harden performance that Sixers fans had been waiting for.

“I made some shots, obviously that’s a game-changer,” Harden said, “but just being aggressive and that fourth quarter, I think that group that started the furth quarter did a really good job of pushing the lead up and doing what we’re supposed to do.”

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