Staring a 3-1 series deficit in the face, it's no surprise that the Philadelphia 76ers brought a fight to the Boston Celtics. What was surprising, though, was the fact that they did it after trailing 14-0 and 20-5 in the first quarter and again by 18 points early in the third quarter.
Andre Iguodala came up big in the final quarter, pacing the Sixers with several big buckets in a 9-0 game-ending run en route to a 92-83 win over the Celtics in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals on Friday evening in Philadelphia, PA. The series is now tied, 2-2.
Iguodala finished with 16 points and seven rebounds and Evan Turner also scored 16, making 6-of-9 free throws. Lou Williams had 10 first-half point and finished with 15 off the bench while Thaddeus Young chipped in with 12 points. Philly shot 37.8 percent.
Paul Pierce led the game with 24 points for the Celtics, who made 30-of-71 field goals (42.3 percent). Rajon Rondo and Brandon Bass each scored 15 while Kevin Garnett had nine points, 11 rebounds and seven turnovers. Ray Allen and Mickael Pietrus each scored five for Boston, which was out-rebounded, 52-38, and the C's bench was outscored 44-12.
Boston wasted no time burying Philadelphia, scoring the game's first 14 points by the 8:44 mark and led 20-5 with 4:31 to play. Bass scored 10 points in the opening frame, making four field goals -- one more than the entire Sixers team. The lead could have been much larger, but the Celtics only scored four points in the last four minutes and 30 seconds.
Courtesy of a 6-0 run to start the second, Philly trimmed its deficit to six points, 24-18, with 8:48 to play before halftime, but a pair of Rondo baskets gave Boston a little breathing room, and an 18-foot jumper from Bass made it a 29-18 lead. Philly just wouldn't quit, though, with Turner scoring eight of the Sixers' next 10 points, but a layup from Bradley, two Bass free throws, a three from Pierce and another layup from the captain kept the Celtics on top, 37-26. Pietrus and Ray Allen each made threes in the final 1:05 of the quarter and Rondo beat the defense for a late layup, putting Boston up by 15 at halftime, 46-31.
The Celtics would not register their first field goal of the third quarter until the 5:03 mark -- a three from Pierce -- during which time the Sixers went on a 15-8 run to make it a 54-46 game. A couple of baskets from Ryan Hollins and Bass, nearly negated by a three from Williams, would put the C's up 58-49 with 3:41 left until the fourth quarter. The quarter ended with a 63-59 lead for the Celtics, who led by as many as 18 earlier in the period.
Philly would make its run at the end of the third and start of the fourth, fighting back to tie the game at 63 and take a 68-65 lead with nine minutes to go. The two sides would go back and forth for the next thee and a half minutes, but a big three from Ray Allen put the Celtics back up, 77-76, at 3:50. Garnett would make two free throws to put Boston back up by three, 79-76, but Iguodala's three with 3:11 remaining tied the game once again.
With the game knotted at 83, Iguodala's jumper at 1:22 put Philly up by two. Rondo brought the ball up on the other end, but couldn't muster anything on the possession, which ended with his layup being blocked by one minute left. Iguodala responded with a dagger three on the other end, putting the Sixers up 88-83, and they sealed it at the free throw line.
Boston hosts Philly in Game 5 on Monday night at TD Garden. Game 6 will take place in Philadelphia on Wednesday, and if necessary, Game 7 would be Saturday back in Boston.