5/18/12 – In Friday's game 4 the Philadelphia 76ers were looking to even up the series at the Wells Fargo Center. They got crushed in game 3 as Boston's Big Three + Rondo rolled to the easy victory. For the Sixers to win game 4 they needed to step up big time offensively and defensively get the Celtics out of their groove. One of the biggest concerns all season for Philadelphia has been their inability to put together a complete game, and in game 4 this would also be the case.
The first half went terribly for the Sixers, going down 14-0 from the jump. Their offense wasn't clicking at all while it appeared Boston's momentum had carried over from game 3. In the 1st and 2nd quarters, the Sixers shot an abysmal 23.1% (9-39). For the Celtics, Paul Pierce (8-13 FG) and Rondo (15 assists) both stood out early and Boston held the 46-31 lead at halftime. To begin the 3rd quarter bad went to worse as the Sixers went down by 18 points. However just when they were counted out, the underdog Sixers showed their toughness when provoked. Garnett threw an elbow at Iggy with 9:46 remaining in 3rd, he received a technical foul but would also receive retaliation from Elton Brand in the form of a close-line on his next trip to the lane. Hawes and Ryan Hollins also mixed it up, both receiving technicals in the 3rd quarter. The chippyness and intensity at this point in the game seemed to be exactly what the Sixers needed and they began to surmount an improbable comeback. Philly's bench played huge, outscoring Boston's bench 44-12 for the game. Lavoy Allen got major minutes frustrating Garnett all game, (3-12 FG) and 7 turnovers. Lou Will also played pretty well, leading the Sixers with 8 assists to go with 15 points. They closed the gap significantly but at the end of 3, Boston had the lead 63-59. In the 4th quarter the Sixers continued to play hard and it paid off. Evan Turner had a terrible game shooting (5-22), but was really valuable in the 2nd half because he continued to drive to the basket and was able to get to the line several times. Turner's aggressiveness was contagious as the Sixers visited the Free Throw line 36 times, a key to their big 2nd half. In the 4th they clawed their way back to take the late lead with less than 5 minutes to go. Rondo would tie the game back up 83-83, but then Iggy stepped up again as the leader Philadelphia's been lacking. He scored 5 straight, with a jumper and a 3 pointer to give them the edge. Once in command, they didn't let up and tied up the series in a absolutely ruckus Wells Fargo Center. Final 92-83.
1. Iggy – 37:36 mins., 16 pts., 7 rebs., 4 asts., 2 TOs
2. Turner – 36:03 mins., 16 pts., 9 rebs., 1 ast., 1 stl., 1 TO
3. Lou – 28:34 mins., 15 pts., 4 rebs., 8 asts., 1 stl., 1 TO
4. Thad – 30:46 mins., 12 pts., 9 rebs., 3 asts., 1 blk., 3 TOs
5. Jrue – 31:56 mins., 11 pts., 7 rebs., 1 ast., 1 stl., 1 TO
6. Meeks – 11:37 mins., 9 pts., 1 reb., 3 stls., 1 TO
7. Lavoy – 32:43 mins., 8 pts., 10 rebs., 2 stls., 1 blk.
8. Brand – 15:43 mins., 3 pts., 2 rebs., 1 stl., 1 TO
9. Hawes – 15:02 mins., 2 pts., 3 rebs., 1 ast., 1 TO
Paul Pierce – 24 pts., 6 rebs., 1 ast., 2 stls., 2 blks., 3 TOs
Rajon Rondo – 15 pts., 4 rebs., 15 asts., 2 stls., 1 blk., 4 TOs
Brandon Bass – 15 pts., 5 rebs., 1 TO
Kevin Garnett – 9 pts., 11 rebs., 2 asts., 2 stls., 3 blks., 7 TOs
Avery Bradley – 8 pts., 3 rebs., 1 ast.
Ray Allen – 5 pts., 6 rebs., 1 ast., 2 TOs
The Sixers put themselves in a terrible position early but their incredible 2nd half propelled them to victory. They outscored Boston 61-37 in the 3rd and 4th quarter, while shooting 51% (22-43). Lavoy Allen did a remarkable job on Garnett, who was forcing a lot of shots. Paul Pierce was hot and probably should've seen the ball more. Give credit to Lavoy, Thad, Turner, and Iggy who rebounded well as a team. The Sixers won the rebounding battle 52-38. The comeback was made possible through second chance opportunities (17 o rebs), running the break (27 fastbreak points), and driving to the bucket (34 points in the paint). They led Boston in each of these categories, as they were able to take control of the game late. The oft criticized Iguodala came up with several clutch shots down the stretch and deserved a lot of credit for embracing his new role in the offense. He has been much more valuable playing to his strengths and not trying to do too much as the team's #1. Alongside Jrue and Turner he can be more of a 3rd option, which I believe is his natural position in the lineup. The Sixers now have a legitimate chance in taking this series, but they can't count on being able to comeback late in the game. What happened in game 4 was truly outstanding, but was a rarity against a veteran squad such as the Celtics. For Philadelphia to take control of the series, they need to play all four quarters. Next game Monday 7:00 TNT at the TD Garden in Boston. More to come…
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