NBA play-offs: James Harden stars as Philadelphia76ers level series with Boston Celtics

PHILADELPHIA (Agencies): James Harden scored 42 points as the Philadelphia 76ers beat the Boston Celtics in overtime to level their play-off series at 2-2.

Harden scored to send the game into overtime then made the decisive three-pointer to clinch a 116-115 win.

Philadelphia led for much of the game before a late Boston surge helped them move into the lead.

The Phoenix Suns beat the Denver Nuggets 129-124 to ensure their series is also level going into game five.

Devin Booker and Kevin Durant scored 36 points apiece while Landry Shamet was a surprise hero off the bench, scoring 14 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter.

Booker shot 14-for-18 and registered 12 assists while Durant added 11 rebounds and six assists as fourth-seeded Phoenix won their second straight game.

A career-best 53-point display by Nikola Jokic, who was succeeded as the league’s Most Valuable Player this season by 76ers star Joel Embiid, came in vain for top-seeded Denver.

Jokic was given an unsportsmanlike technical foul just before half-time after an incident involving Mat Ishbia, who became the Suns owner in February.

The ball went out of bounds and ended up in the hands of Ishbia, sitting in the front row. As Jokic tried to get the ball back, Ishbia held onto it and after it came loose, the Serb pushed Ishbia with the outside of his forearm, sending the 43-year-old back into his seat.

“The fan put their hand on me first,” said Jokic, 28. “I thought the league was supposed to protect us.”

Nuggets coach Michael Malone added: “Some fan is holding onto the ball who wants be a part of the game. Just give the ball up, man.”

For the third-seeded 76ers, Embiid supported Harden with 34 points while Jayson Tatum (24), Jaylen Brown (23) and Marcus Smart (21) had helped to keep the Celtics in the game until the dying seconds.

Smart thought he had won it for Boston, the second seed in the Eastern Conference, but his last-ditch three-pointer came after the buzzer.

“I put the work in and it was all about being aggressive. Tonight it was really do or die,” Harden said.

Game five in their best-of-seven series is on Tuesday in Boston, while the Suns and Nuggets meet again in Denver on Tuesday.

So far the home team has won each game in their Western Conference semi-final series.