Jaylen Brown, Celtics explain how they’re slowing down James Harden

PHILADELPHIA–The Philadelphia 76ers got off to a shocking start in this semifinal series with the Boston Celtics when they went into TD Garden and stole Game 1 from the Cs. James Harden was the catalyst as he dropped 45 points on 17-for-30 shooting.

That performance seems ages ago as he has combined to shoot 5-for-28 in the two games since. He shot 3-for-14 in the Game 3 loss to the Celtics and he appeared to be passing up a ton of really good looks. It was a strange sight to see from such a gifted and talented scorer.

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“Just having pressure and intensity,” said Jaylen Brown. “Just coming out and playing. He’s a great player and we’re just trying to make it tough for him, that’s it.”

Boston has so many defenders they can throw at Harden. They can turn to Brown, they can turn to Marcus Smart, Jayson Tatum, Malcolm Brogdon, and others. Then, there’s the defense at the rim led by Robert Williams III and Al Horford who can deter a lot of shots.

“We’re purposefully making it hard on him,” added Brogdon. “He came out in Game 1 and won them that game. He played terrific, and we don’t want him to play like that anymore. We got to be as physical as we can with him. Force him to take tough shots and make him uncomfortable for 94 feet.”

Harden and the Sixers have proven to be a resilient bunch all season so they will have to show that again on Sunday afternoon. Boston is not going to stop with the ball pressure and they have a ton of active, strong defenders.


“We’re just trying to make him work for it,” added Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla. “He’s obviously a great player and can score on all three levels. So we’re just trying to make him work as much as we can. You know, try to keep him off the free-throw line. Sometimes just working to take away those details.”

A critical Game 4 is set for Sunday afternoon from the Wells Fargo Center.


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Story originally appeared on Sixers Wire