May 14, 2012; Boston, MA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers shooting guard Evan Turner (12) drives the ball against Boston Celtics small forward Mickael Pietrus (28) during the first quarter in game two of the Eastern Conference semifinals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-US PRESSWIRE

NBA Playoffs 2012: 76ers Avoid Collapse, Hang on for Series Tying Win


After another closely contested game, I’m getting the feeling is going to be a long and relatively ugly series. But a win is a win, and that was the case in game two for the 76ers.

Evan Turner hit the go-ahead layup with just over 40 seconds to go, as well as a pair of free throws in the final 12 seconds to ice the game for the 76ers, who won despite 16 turnovers and shooting 41 percent from the game. But these are the kind of games we’ve come to expect from this team, and there’s going to be more to come in what should be a low scoring, defensive struggle of a series.

Philadelphia seemed intent on making this interesting again tonight though, much like they did on Saturday in game one. They led 57-49 entering the fourth quarter after outscoring the Celtics 21-11 in the third, but they nearly let this one slip away.

After tying the game twice, Avery Bradley hit a three pointer that put Boston up 72-71. Jrue Holiday and Ray Allen then traded three pointers, leading to a 75-74 lead for Boston. They then had a chance to extend their lead further after a 76ers shot clock violation, but Rondo missed, leading up to the Turner layup to put the 76ers up for good.

This game, much like the previous series for each team, was ugly. The halftime score was 38-36, with neither team eclipsing 50 points until late in the third when Philadelphia finally broke that barrier, taking a 57-49 lead in to the fourth.

Holiday led all scorers with 18 points, including the big three late in the fourth. Andre Iguodala chipped in with 13, while Lavoy Allen and Turner each had 12 apiece.

Boston was paced by Allen’s 17 off the bench. Kevn Garnett continued his good run in the postseason with a 15 point and 12 rebound double double, while Rondo chipped in with 13 assists (compared to just one turnover).

Hero of the Game: Evan Turner

Since it seemed as though everyone was pretty well awful tonight, I’m going with Turner on this one. While he didn’t have his best night – only hitting four of his eleven shots for 10 points – he did come through when it mattered most in hitting that game winning layup. And those free throws to ice the game didn’t hurt either.

Zero of the Game: Paul Pierce

Isn’t he supposed to be the leader of this team? The only example he was leaving tonight was how to play a poor game. Bad shooting? Check. Lots of turnovers? Check. Negative plus/minus? Check. While his defense tonight wasn’t awful, he was terrible everywhere else. Oh yea, he also forgot to show up in the fourth, taking only one shot and missing that. To say that it wasn’t his night is a bit of an understatement.

Keys Moving Forward:

I’m just going to lump this up for both teams instead of doing each individually. Why? Because they both need to do the same thing. Continue to play defense and find ways to score. With how the first two games have gone, you get the feeling that each game is just going to be a race to 85 (if we’re lucky to even see that much scoring). I’m also interested to see how each coach adjusts their gameplan as the series goes on. This could be an interesting chess match to see if either coach can find a way to switch it up enough to be able to manage enough points against a very stout defense.

Oh yea, and it really wouldn’t hurt Boston if Pierce decided to show up. So far this series, he’s averaging just 10.5 points per game and has hit a whopping five of his twenty attempts. That’s 25 percent shooting. That can’t continue if they’re going to win.

Random Fact of the Game:

This was the first time Philadlephia won a postseason game in Boston in since May 23, 1982. That’s almost 30 years to the day. Talk about a long time coming.

Tags: Boston Celtics Evan Turner NBA NBA Playoffs 2012 Paul Pierce Philadelphia 76ers Rajon Rondo Ray Allen