The Sixers star took aim at officials after the 95-86 loss on May 11, saying they even admitted to him during the game that they had missed some calls that should have gone his favor.
“Tonight was just frustrating because I’m number one as far as fouls that don’t get called. It’s a fact,” Harden told reporters in the locker room after the game. “So it’s frustrating as a player. So when officiating tells you at halftime ‘We missed a couple of fouls.’ That right there. There was some missed shots and fouls which would give me a rhythm to transition points for them.”
James Harden Struggled in Game 6 Loss to Celtics
The Sixers fell flat in their chance to close out the series at home on Thursday, going cold from the field in the critical final stretch of the game. The Celtics held the Sixers to a 36.1% shooting percentage from the field and just 23.5% from behind the 3-point arc.
Harden struggled from the field individually, scoring 13 points on 4-for-16 shooting and missing all of his six 3-point attempts. After the game, Harden gave credit to the Celtics for executing a good defensive scheme and said he was ready to move past the poor performance.
“I’m not gonna look at my shooting percentage,” Harden said. “I did a lot of really good things offensively. Defensively, they did a really good job of like their game plan was to pack the paint. They started two bigs and they packed the paint. They started two bigs and they packed the paint. So they forced us to make shots.”
The Sixers rallied in the third quarter and took an 83-81 lead in the fourth quarter, but failed to make a shot from the field over the final 6:13 of the game. Sixers big man and league MVP Joel Embiid said they were disjointed on offense in the critical stretch.
“We stopped moving the ball,” Embiid said, via The Associated Press. “I don’t think I touched the ball the last 4 minutes of the game. Missed a lot of good looks. I didn’t touch the ball, though.”
Sixers Ready for Game 7 in Boston
After the loss on Thursday, some of Harden’s teammates followed suit in looking forward rather than backward. Tyrese Maxey, whose free throws gave the Sixers their final lead in the fourth quarter, said he was ready to travel back to Boston for the final game of the series.
“If I have to go to war, Game 7 in Boston, I would want to go with this group,” Maxey said, via The Associated Press. “I know we’ve got some fighters, I know we’ve got some resilient guys. I’m ready to get it on.”
While the Sixers are trying to reach the conference finals for the first time since 2001, the Celtics find themselves in familiar territory. They also fell down 3-2 in the second round last year against the Milwaukee Bucks, winning Game 6 on the road before taking Game 7 at home.