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PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - MAY 07: Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers points against the Boston Celtics during the third quarter in game four of the Eastern Conference Second Round Playoffs at Wells Fargo Center on May 07, 2023 in Philadelphia,

The Sixers-Celtics series so far has been a roller coaster of emotions. The Sixers took game 1 on the road without Joel Embiid, and we were riding high. But then with Embiid back, and even playing well, they lost games 2 and 3. Then they seemed to be outplaying the Celtics in most of game 4. But a late collapse forced the game to Overtime. Thanks to some heroics from James Harden, they gutted out a win to tie the series at 2-2. All leading into game 5, in Boston, tonight. The game starts tonight at 7:30 PM. You can listen to it right here on 97.5, and watch it on TNT.

So which Sixers team can we expect in this game? Will we see the game 1 Sixers that were able to keep up with Boston’s hot shooting and gut out a win? The ones that got blown out of the water the last time they played in Boston? Will this be a game where Embiid takes over after PJ Tucker ripped into him near the end of game 4? Which version of James Harden will show up?

There are a ton of questions for both sides heading into this game 5. Who will come out on top? Here are 5 numbers that could tell that story.

  • 46

    Joel Embiid, on one bad knee, had to play 46 minutes in game 4. That is a lot when he is healthy. When he is still nursing a sprained knee, and not fully conditioned after missing time, it is even harder. You could tell he was tired and struggling late in game 4. Someone, anyone, off the bench needs to step up and allow him to get more rest. Paul Reed has struggled in this series. As has Jalen McDaniels. And the guys like Dewayne Dedmon or Montrez Harrell won’t hold up any better.

    But someone has to. They can’t keep winning if Joel is too tired by the game’s end to be effective.

  • 17.9%.

    In the Sixers two wins, James Harden has a combined 33 Field Goals. But in the two losses, he had just 5. It’s not breaking any news that the Sixers win when Harden plays well, and lose when he does not. But the splits are pretty insane. He has either been amazing or awful in every game, with no between. He shot over 62.3% from the field in games 1 and 4 combined. That fell to 17.9% over the two losses.

    Harden cant have any more off-games though. With many of the other players on the roster struggling to score, he needs to be the guy. If Game 4 Harden shows yup, they have a very good chance to win. If game 2/3 Harden shows up, it is hard to see them winning.

  • 12.5

    At least James Harden has had good scoring games though. Tobias Harris has been more consistent but in the wrong way. While he has played decent, sometimes great defense on Jayson Tatum, he has struggled to get going from the floor. Just 12.5 points per game from him in this series. They don’t need him scoring 30 points or anything. But they need more from him on offense. The same goes for Tyrese Maxey who is trying his best, but whose shot has been wild. James Harden and Joel Embiid cannot be the only guys getting buckets for the Sixers. Both Maxey and Harris need to step up more than they have.

  • 72

    The Sixers are probably going to need some help from their bench to win. In game 1 they got that from DeAnthony Melton, who scored 17. In game 4 they got 9 from Georges Niang. The problem is, that is all they have gotten from the bench. Two guys stepping up in one game a piece.

    Taking away the deep bench guys who came in when the game was out of hand in game 2, the bench players have scored just 72 points in this series so far. That’s 18 a game. They need more from them. At least one of them. Either Melton or Niang needs to step up and hit some 3s off the bench. And if Reed or McDaniels could step up too, that would be great

  • 84.1%

    It is very important for both teams to win this game. When the series is tied up 2-2, the team that wins game 5 wins 84.1% of the time. Which makes sense. Whoever wins it will need just one more win, with one of the remaining games being a home game. It is not a guarantee that whoever wins tonight will win the series. But more often than not, that is the case.

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