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76ers notebook

Iguodala found shooting touch

By Amalie Benjamin
Globe Staff / May 19, 2012
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PHILADELPHIA - Andre Iguodala hit the 3-pointer that brought the house down, that brought Sixers fans to their feet and the Celtics to their knees. With 36.9 seconds left in a game that looked wrapped up for the Celtics, Iguodala finished his best quarter of the series with a dagger.

It put the Sixers up, 88-83. The Celtics never hit another shot.

He had been mostly invisible offensively against the Celtics, sometimes playing good defense against Paul Pierce. Iguodala had struggled early Friday night, scoring just 3 points in the first half as the Sixers looked terrible.

“I was thrilled, because Andre was struggling,’’ 76ers coach Doug Collins said. “He was struggling.’’

Collins wanted to change that by making Ray Allen guard him. It worked.

“[Iguodala] pulled up and hit that jump shot,’’ Collins said. “He had a couple big threes for us, but the big three that put us up 5 was huge. Gave us a little breathing room.

“I was just happy he kept with it. Sometimes ’Dre, if he’s not shooting well, sometimes he looks to overpass. I was happy late in the game. He looked to shoot the ball when he had those shots.’’

It wasn’t just that shot. Iguodala hit the shot before, too, the one that gave the Sixers the lead, on a step-back jumper. He had 8 points in the fourth quarter, finishing tied with Evan Turner (16 points) as the Sixers’ leading scorer. Iguodala added seven rebounds and four assists, and was 3 for 3 on 3-pointers.

“That’s not the first time [Lou Williams] has found me right there in that same exact spot,’’ Iguodala said of the 3-pointer that put the Sixers up by 5. “We’ve done that before. That’s the way the situation has played out, not as big a platform as it was tonight. But it worked out good for us.’’

Trail blazers

Philadelphia trailed by 18 points in the third quarter. The last time the Sixers had trailed by that many and won a playoff game was in 2009, against Orlando in Game 1 of the first round . . . The Sixers are 4-2 when shooting less than 40 percent in the playoffs this season. They were 2-12 in those situations in the regular season . . . Philadelphia shot 36 free throws, the fourth time in 10 games it had drawn at least 30 in the playoffs this season. Philadelphia had 30-plus foul shots in just four games in the regular season. The Sixers came close to breaking the NBA record for averaging the fewest foul shots per game this season, at 18.2. The record is 18.

Amalie Benjamin can be reached at abenjamin@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @amaliebenjamin.

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