Sixers roar back from dismal first half
By SPORTS NETWORK
|Sixers Evan Turner and Louis Williams celebrate a play against the Boston Celtics in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Semifinals (Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images/AFP)
PHILADELPHIA - Lou Williams scored 13 of his 15 points in the second half as the Philadelphia 76ers overcame a dismal first half to take a 92-83 victory over the Boston Celtics and even their Eastern Conference semifinal series at two games apiece.
Andre Iguodala added 16 points, including the go-ahead jumper within the final two minutes, to go along with seven rebounds and four assists for the Sixers, whose bench outscored Boston's 44-12.
Evan Turner also dropped in 16 points while Thaddeus Young had 12 and Jrue Holiday netted 11 in the win.
Paul Pierce scored a game-high 24 points and Rajon Rondo had 15 points and 15 assists in a losing effort.
Game 5 of this best-of-seven set will take place Monday in Boston.
The Sixers connected on just 9-of-39 shots from the floor and also went 13- for-21 from the free-throw line in the opening 24 minutes en route to a 46-31 deficit at the half. They turned it around in the third quarter, using a stifling defense to reel off a 15-5 run to get within 51-46 as they held Boston without a basket until Pierce's three-pointer with about five minutes left in the frame.
However, Williams answered with a trey at the other end and Philadelphia whittled away a pair of nine-point leads by Boston over the rest of the third to trail, 63-59, heading into the fourth.
The Sixers carried that momentum into the final period, opening the fourth with back-to-back field goals by Young before taking their first lead of the game on a Jodie Meeks trey after a pair of free throws by Mickael Pietrus to make the score 66-65 with less than 10 minutes left in the game.
The next eight-plus minutes saw seven ties, six lead changes and neither team take a lead larger than three points as the teams went back-and-forth on the court.
The Celtics' final lead of the contest came on an open Rondo jumper for an 81-79 advantage with under three minutes left in the game.
Williams answered with a jumper on the other and after Pierce missed a driving layup, Lavoy Allen connected on a dunk to give Philadelphia an 83-81 advantage.
A Rondo layup on Boston's ensuing possession tied the game again with 1:38 left in the fourth, but the Celtics would not score again and Iguodala's step- back jumper on the other end put the Sixers on top for good.
Rondo then had his layup attempt blocked by Young before Iguodala dropped in a three-pointer from the right wing for an 88-83 lead. Ray Allen and Keyon Dooling would then each miss a three-point attempt while Meeks sank four straight free throws to seal the win for Philadelphia.
The Celtics dominated the first quarter, opening the contest with a 14-0 run as they connected on their first five shots while Philadelphia went 0-for-4 with two turnovers before Holiday's jumper snapped the drought.
The Sixers' offensive struggles continued for the remainder of the first, though, shooting just 18.8 percent from the floor as Boston shot 52.6 percent and held a 24-12 lead entering the second quarter.
Philadelphia started the second with six straight points to close the gap to 24-18, but the Celtics reeled off the next five points to regain their double- digit advantage on Brandon Bass' pull-up jumper.
After back-to-back field goals by Turner and Holiday later pulled Philadelphia within 29-22 near the midpoint of the quarter, Boston closed out the half with a 17-9 run as the Sixers continued to struggle offensively.
Philadelphia finished shooting 37.8 percent from the floor and made 25-of-36 foul shots...The Celtics shot 42.3 percent in the game and connected on 16- of-19 free throws...Allen had eight points and 10 rebounds for Philadelphia...Bass finished with 15 points while Kevin Garnett contributed nine points and 11 rebounds for Boston...The Sixers held a 52-38 advantage on the glass and outscored Boston in the paint, 34-26...The Sixers scored 15 points off 17 Boston turnovers.