Friday, May 18, 2012

Sixers rally for improbable Game 4 win

PHILADELPHIA - There are moments of doubt, and there are moments of resignation.
In the first half of Friday night's Game 4 between the 76ers and Celtics at Wells Fargo Center, the Sixers had everyone in the building thinking about anything other than there possibly being a Game 6 in Philly on Wednesday.
The Sixers were going to lose Game 4, and quietly bow out in Game 5. Had to be.
Then the doom eased into disappointment, which soon became curiosity, then turned into pride.
Then, amazingly, they took the lead. And after spotting Boston the first 12 points of the game, the Sixers scored the final nine points over the final 83 seconds.

Sixers 92, Celtics 83. Series tied. See you back in Philly Wednesday.
For anyone who experienced the game in its entirety, the final score is preposterous. Less than six minutes into the game the Sixers trailed 18-3. At one point late in the second quarter they were shooting 7-for-35 (20 percent) from the floor, flirting with the Mendoza Line in a statistic where Ty Cobb percentages still are pretty shabby.
Even early in the third quarter there were reasons to wonder not if the Sixers could win, but how badly they would lose. In the opening minute of the second half Elton Brand won a jump ball ... only to have Rajon Rondo out-hustle the Sixers to it and start a fast break.
Yet the Sixers started to chip away, thanks in part to Boston switching personalities with them. In the third the Celtics were the team taking and missing long jumpers. Meanwhile, Evan Turner -- who got in two separate altercations with three different Celtics -- started to slice into the lane and bring the Sixers closer. Lou Williams, king of scoring when momentum shifts, started to heat up.
However, in the fourth quarter it was the Thad Young and Lavoy Allen show. When Boston went to a small lineup, that frontcourt sliced and diced the Celts at both ends. They combined for 12 points in the fourth quarter, seemed to be grabbing every board, blocking every shot, picking up every loose ball.
Finally, down the stretch, Andre Iguodala stepped forward. He hit a long jumper to give the Sixers the lead, 85-83, then followed it with a 3-pointer.
The building exploded. The series was tied. And back to Boston they'll go.


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