Down by 18 points to the Boston Celtics Friday night, the Philadelphia 76ers’ season looked doomed. The veteran team was in control and confident. Then something happened to the Sixers. They woke up — or better yet, grew up.
With a rousing second-half effort, Philly pulled out a 92-83 victory that evened the series at 2-2. It was a rousing fourth-quarter effort by all-star forward Andre Iguodala that was the difference. Iguodala scored five straight points in the last 90 seconds and Boston had no answer.
As stirring as the win was for the 76ers, it was that devastating to the Celtics. Older and battling the aches and pains that come at the tail end of a long season, Boston could rue folding after being up by so much. Kevin Garnett had just nine points on 3-for-12 shooting with seven turnovers.
Overall, the 76ers outscored the Celtics 61-37 after halftime. And their bench was outscored 44-12.
”I don’t even know where to start,” Philadelphia coach Doug Collins said. ”Our guys are pretty amazing. They really are.”
The Sixers’ bench was dynamic, outscoring its Boston counterparts 44-12. When Iguodala drained a step-back three-pointer, the 76ers led 88-83 and it was an insurmountable advantage.
Kevin Garnett, who had been outstanding all series, looked, well, like an older version of K.G., scoring but nine points. The Celtics did accomplish what it desired, which was to retake home-court advantage going into Game 5 on Monday in Boston.