Well folks, we have a series. Again.
After the Celtics ran away with game three, a lot of people thought the 76ers might be dead in the water. And for a little over a half, they looked it.
That’s why we play four quarters though, folks
Down by as many as 18, the 76ers exploded in the second half of game, winning in comeback fashion and tying this series up at two games apiece.
After being outscored 46-31 in the first half, the 76ers erupted for 61 second half points, while holding the Celtics to a mere 37.
Andre Iguodala, who has struggled finding his shot in this postseason, came up huge when it mattered most – the fourth quarter. He scored eight of his 16 points in the quarter, including five straight points to give the 76ers a lead that they wouldn’t relinquish.
With less than 90 seconds to go in the game, Iguodala buried a step back jumper over Ray Allen. Shortly after that, he hit drilled a three pointer off a Lou Williams feed.
And that was the game, as the Celtics would never recover, and the 76ers would only add to the lead from there on out.
The 76ers can thank Iguodala, Lou Williams, and Evan Turner for the victory. Iguodala led the way with 16, while Williams scored 13 of his 15 in the second half. Turner, who shot poorly all game, hitting only five of his 22 shot attempts, still came through in the fourth when it mattered most, scoring eight crucial points. Spencer Hawes, Thaddeus Young and Jrue Holiday also hti double figures for the 76ers, giving them six players in total to do that.
After three big games to start the series, Kevin Garnett finally had an off night, and it certainly didn’t help Boston’s cause. Garnett scored only nine points, hitting just three of his twelve shots from the floor, while chipping in 11 rebounds along the way. Paul Pierce led the way for the Celtics, scoring 24 points on just 13 shot attempts, while Rondo was his usual, double double self, netting 15 points and 15 assists (to four turnovers).
The 76ers winning this game is almost a miracle in itself, given how horribly they shot.
“That was probably the worst we could shoot,” Iguodala said. “They were playing as good as they could play and we were shooting poorly.”
Luckily for them, it didn’t matter that they hit only 37.8 percent of their shots tonight, because they hit the ones that mattered the most.
It also helped matters for the 76ers that they destroyed the Celtics on the glass, out-rebounding them 52-38, including a 17 to five edge on the offensive glass.
By winning game four, the 76ers guaranteed their fans at least one more game in Philadelphia. They can’t think that far ahead though, as game five is just around the corner, coming up on Monday in Boston.
Hero of the Game: Andre Iguodala
Go ahead jumper? Check. Three pointer to push them ahead even further? Check. Eight clutch points in the fourth? Check. Iguodala has not had the best postseason of his career, but tonight, he put all that aside and came through huge for the 76ers. He hit the two biggest shots of the game and guaranteed us that we’ll be getting at least six games in this series. What more could you really want of him?
Zero of the Game: Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen
Because they were both awful tonight, they’re both getting this distinction. They hit a combined five for 18 shots, and neither of them were particularly effective on defense in the second half that was dominated by the 76ers. They have to step it up when this series shifts back to Boston on Monday, otherwise, they could be looking at a trip to Philadelphia in a 3-2 hole.
Keys Moving Forward:
For Philadelphia, they need to take the momentum they got from the second half and carry it over to the next game. This was by far the best 24 minutes of basketball they’ve had all postseason. They played staunch defense and actually hit some shots for a change. Andre Iguodala also needs to keep the momentum going too, because they need more games like this one out of him if they’re taking this series. Oh, and it’d be nice if Evan Turner could hit better that five for 22. Just sayin’.
For Boston…well, for starters, Garnett and Allen could find their games again for game four. They were terrible tonight, to say the least. And as far as Allen goes, he’s been awful for these last two games, scoring a combined eight points. That’s not going to cut it. They need him to be effective and hit jump shots. It spaces the floor, giving Rondo wider lanes to cut in, and gives Garnett a little more room to work in the paint. To put it bluntly, the Big Four on this team need to play like the Big Four instead of just a Big Two (because Rondo and Pierce were both good tonight). Without that, this team won’t win this series, it’s as simple as that. As good as Bass and Bradley have been at times this year, they can’t rely on those two night in and night out. They need their superstars to play like superstars. Unfortunately for them though, only two of their four showed up tonight, and spelled disaster in the end.