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WAMC Sports Report 5/8/23: Harden makes winning 3 in OT, 76ers tie series with Celtics



James Harden hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with 18 seconds left in overtime and scored 42 points to help the Philadelphia 76ers stave off a wild Boston Celtics comeback in a 116-115 victory yesterday that evened their playoff series at 2-2. Marcus Smart’s potential winner was a tick too late and the Celtics now head home for Tuesday’s Game 5. Joel Embiid had 34 points and 13 rebounds. Harden added nine assists and eight rebounds. Jayson Tatum struggled to score early but finished with 24 points, 18 rebounds, six assists and four blocks.

Devin Booker had 36 points and 12 assists, Kevin Durant also had 36 points and the Phoenix Suns beat the Denver Nuggets 129-124 to even their Western Conference semifinal playoff series at two games apiece. Backup guard Landry Shamet made four crucial 3-pointers in the fourth quarter to keep the Suns ahead. Denver lost despite a huge game from MVP runner-up Nikola Jokic, who poured in 53 points. The Suns took a 98-92 lead into the fourth quarter after a scoring flurry from Booker, who had 17 points in the third. Phoenix wouldn’t trail in the fourth. The series returns to Denver for Game 5 on Tuesday.

Denver Nuggets All-Star center Nikola Jokic was assessed a technical foul in the second quarter after an altercation with Phoenix Suns owner Mat Ishbia on Sunday. Late in the second quarter, Suns guard Josh Okogie crashed into the seats while trying to save a loose ball. He landed in a group of fans that included Ishbia, who grabbed the basketball. Jokic was trying to get the basketball quickly — apparently so the Nuggets could start their offensive possession — which he tried to take the ball away from Ishbia. There were a few minutes of confusion as officials sorted out the weird scene, and then Jokic was assessed a technical foul.

James Harden met with Michigan State shooting victim John Hao before a playoff game. Then he signed his sneakers and gave them to Hao after scoring 42 points and making the winning shot in overtime. The 20-year-old Hao was paralyzed from the chest down in a February shooting on the East Lansing campus that killed three students and injured five others. Harden learned Hao was a fan of his and the two struck up a friendship over FaceTime. Harden also donated sneakers and money toward Hao's recovery. Hao recently left a Chicago rehabilitation facility and said he may move with his family back to China.

The New York Knicks are at Miami for game 4 tonight at 7:30. Miami has a 2-1 series lead and The Los Angeles Lakers host the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference second round with a 2-1 lead in the series tonight at 10.


Jack Hughes scored two goals, set up two more and had a near fight as the New Jersey Devils began the task of digging out of another hole with a (had an 8-4 win over the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals Sunday.) Timo Meier, Nico Hischier and Damon Severson added their first goals of playoffs and Vitek Vanecek returned to the net and made 26 saves in helping New Jersey cut its deficit in the best-of-seven series to 2-1. The eight goals were the most for the Devils in a playoff game since they beat Washington 10-4 on April 22, 1988. Game 4 is Tuesday night in Newark.

Sam Reinhart scored 3:02 into overtime and the Florida Panthers beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2 to take a commanding 3-0 lead in their Eastern Conference semifinal series. Reinhart dumped the puck off the boards behind the net to set up his game-winner, taking a pass back from Anton Lundell and scoring to give Florida its first 3-0 series lead in 27 years. Anthony Duclair and Carter Verhaeghe scored for Florida. Sam Lafferty and Erik Gustafsson scored for Toronto. The Panthers go for the sweep Wednesday night at home.

Jordan Eberle sparked a five-goal outburst in the second period with his fourth goal of the playoffs, Philipp Grubauer made 24 saves and the Seattle Kraken beat the Dallas Stars 7-2 to take a 2-1 series lead in their Western Conference semifinal. Eberle's goal was just the start for Seattle. Alex Wennberg doubled the lead 1:26 after Eberle’s goal; Carson Soucy became Seattle’s 16th different goal scorer this postseason, beating Oettinger five-hole at 6:30; and Matty Beniers made it 4-0 at 8:22. Eeli Tolvanen, Yanni Gourde and Justin Schultz also scored for Seattle. Mason Marchment and Jani Hakanpää scored for Dallas. Stars goalie Jake Oettinger was pulled after allowing five goals on 17 shots through two periods.

Vegas at Edmonton 8:30 p.m.


Gerrit Cole failed to hold a six-run lead, allowing his first two home runs of the season, and the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Yankees 8-7 on Isaac Paredes’ 10th-inning single to take two of three from New York. Anthony Rizzo and Harrison Bader homered for the Yankees, who led 6-0 before Tampa Bay scored twice in the fifth and five times in the sixth to take a 7-6 lead. The major league-best Rays (28-7) improved to 19-3 home. Last-place New York has lost 10 of its last 16 games and at 18-17 trails the Rays by 10 games.

Chris Sale struck out 10 in six innings, and the Boston Red Sox beat the Philadelphia Phillies 5-3 for their seventh consecutive victory. The game was delayed for about 10 minutes in the first inning when a spectator fell over a protective railing and into the Red Sox bullpen while reaching for a baseball. Boston rookie Masataka Yoshida extended his hitting streak to 15 games. Kiké Hernández and Enmanuel Valdez each had two hits and drove in a run. Phillies slugger Bryce Harper was saluted with a 25-second standing ovation prior to his first at-bat. It was the slugger’s first game in Philadelphia since he had Tommy John surgery on his right elbow.

The skidding New York Mets fell under .500 for the first time since early April as Brenton Doyle’s first big league home run capped a seven-run fifth inning in the Colorado Rockies’ 13-6 win. The Mets are 3-11 since opening 14-7. New York didn’t spend a day under .500 last season on its way to winning 101 games, second-most in franchise history, and their only time with a losing record this year had been at 3-4. The six runs were as many as the Mets scored in their previous four games, but the 13 runs allowed were a season high.

Whit Merrifield had four RBIs, three on his first homer of the season, and the Toronto Blue Jays routed Pittsburgh 10-1 for a three-game sweep that extended the Pirates’ losing streak to seven. Merrifield put the Blue Jays ahead with a run-scoring infield single in the first following a 95-minute rain delay and opened a 4-0 lead in the third when he sent a hanging curveball from Roansy Contreras into the left-field bleachers. Toronto outscored Pittsburgh 22-3 during the sweep, bouncing back from five straight losses.

Vida Blue, a hard-throwing left-hander who became one of baseball’s biggest draws in the early 1970s and helped lead the brash Oakland Athletics to three straight World Series titles before his career was derailed by drug problems, has died. He was 73. The A’s said Blue died Saturday of medical complications stemming from cancer. Blue was voted the 1971 American League Cy Young Award winner and MVP after going 24-8 with a 1.82 ERA. He finished 209-161 with a 3.27 ERA and 2,175 strikeouts over 17 seasons. He was 22 when he won MVP, the youngest to win the award.


Two more horses died in the hours before 15-1 shot Mage won the Kentucky Derby by a length, making it seven in all and casting a shadow over the 149th edition of the world's most famous race on Saturday. Early favorite Forte was scratched in the morning because of an injury, the fifth horse to drop out in the run-up to the Derby. The deaths dealt further blows to a sport already reeling from a series of doping suspensions and breakdowns. Two Phil's finished second and 4-1 favorite Angel of Empire was third in front of a crowd of 150,335 on a warm and partly cloudy day at Churchill Downs.

Meanwhile, the federal body created last year to implement standardized horseracing safety rules says it is in communication with the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission after the horse deaths.  The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority says Churchill Downs is in full compliance with the authority’s rules and processes. HISA says thoroughbreds Chloe’s Dream and Freezing Point passed all inspections without incident. Prior to their deaths Saturday, four other horses died at Churchill Downs in the run-up to the Kentucky Derby, including two trained by Saffie Jospeh, Jr., who was suspended. HISA’s Racetrack Safety Program was implemented in July of last year. The authority’s Anti-Doping and Medication Control program is set to resume later this month after a judge temporarily paused the program five days after its March 27th implementation on procedural grounds.


Final Sporting Kansas City 2 Seattle 1


Max Verstappen used an easy Sunday drive to keep Red Bull undefeated on the season as the reigning two-time Formula One champion drove from ninth to the victory at the Miami Grand Prix. Red Bull has won all five races so far this season, and teammate Sergio Perez’s second-place finish in Miami was the fourth 1-2 finish for Red Bull this year. Verstappen has three wins this season, while Perez, the pole sitter in Miami, has two victories. The win was the 38th of his career for Verstappen, who tied Sebastian Vettel for most victories for Red Bull. At this pace, he’ll smash Vettel’s record by the end of what many critics are already complaining is a boring Red Bull-dominated season.

© 2023 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

A 2022 Siena College graduate, Alexander began his journalism career as a sports writer for Siena College's student paper The Promethean, and as a host for Siena's school radio station, WVCR-FM "The Saint." A Cubs fan, Alexander hosts the morning Sports Report in addition to producing Morning Edition. You can hear the sports reports over-the-air at 6:19 and 7:19 AM, and online on WAMC.org. He also speaks Spanish as a second language. To reach him, email ababbie@wamc.org, or call (518)-465-5233 x 190. You can also find him on Twitter/X: @ABabbieWAMC.