PHILADELPHIA — The Philadelphia 76ers used a 9-0 run in the final 83 seconds of Game 4 to complete a stunning comeback over the Celtics, 92-83, Friday night at Wells Fargo Center.
The Celtics jumped out to a 14-0 lead in Game 4, silencing a Philadelphia crowd that was hoping their team would come out with a better focus in their attempt to even the series. Instead, the Sixers struggled to put the ball in the ocean. They shot 23 percent from the field in the first half, negating the benefit of 21 free throw attempts and failing to take advantage of a six-minute stretch in which the Celtics didn’t score a single point. Sixers guard Evan Turner was 2 of 14 before halftime.
But the Celtics went almost seven minutes without a field goal to start the third quarter, a drought that allowed the Sixers to get right back into it. The Celtics went 5 for 18 from the floor in the third and sent the Sixers to the line nine times. Philadelphia attempted 36 free throws Friday night after shooting 63 in the first three games of the series combined.
A four-point lead at the end of the third quarter quickly evaporated as the Sixers took their first lead of the game. Usually the better closing team, the Celtics were out-closed by the Sixers down the stretch as Andre Iguodala caught fire from the perimeter. Lou Williams chipped in his first big game off the bench with 15 points.
The Celtics and Sixers finally get a break in the schedule as the series shifts back to Boston for Game 5 at TD Garden Monday night, but it won’t be a happy weekend for the Celtics, who are now forced to consider once again the possibility of their own demise.
Final: Sixers 92, Celtics 83
36.9 seconds, Sixers 88-83: Iguodala with a huge 3-pointer to put the Sixers up two possessions. Incredible poise by Philadelphia in the final minutes.
3:34 4th quarter, Celtics 79-76: Big 3-pointer by Ray Allen. A couple of bad shots by Philly. KG hits two free-throws.
5:48 4th quarter, Tied at 74: Rondo throws a pass off Bradley. Five turnovers for the Celtics this quarter, 17 for the game.
7:37 4th quarter, tied at 70: Thaddeus Young ties it at the line. Neither team giving in.
10:01 4th quarter, Tied at 63: Philly is all the way back.
END 3d quarter, Celtics 63-59: The Sixers have come alive, and there’s life in this building. This game has become so ugly that Philadelphia is in it despite how ugly they’ve played. Garnett is just 2 of 10 with five turnovers. Rondo picked up his fourth foul at the end of the quarter. The Celtics need him back out there, and they need him to be great.
Andre Iguodala’s 2-pointer was changed to a 3-pointer, giving Philly another point.
3:41 3d quarter, Celtics 58-49: The Celtics finally make a few field goals after going the first six-plus minutes of the third quarter without it. Pierce with a huge three, and Brandon Bass steps up and makes a big jumper as well. Love the confidence he took that shot with.
6:06 3d quarter, Celtics 51-33: A Garnett free throw ends a 10-0 run for the Sixers. This is getting ugly.
8:12 3d quarter, Celtics 50-39: Sixers hit their first two shots from the floor since halftime. Celtics have yet to make a field goal in the third quarter. Kevin Garnett has five turnovers.
9:43 3d quarter, Celtics 50-33: Kevin Garnett called for a technical, then Elton Brand gets T’d up for giving a foul to KG. Strange little sequence.
10:50 3d quarter, Celtics 50-31: Avery Bradley just popped his left shoulder out again. He stays in the game to shoot his free throws, otherwise he can’t come back in. He looked to be in pain when it happened, but he’s working through it.
Halftime, Celtics 46-31: The Celtics didn’t score for a stretch of six minutes but still increased their lead in the second quarter. Boston’s bench has a total of two points, a layup by Ray Allen.
Paul Pierce has 12 points and Brandon Bass 13 for the visitors. Rondo is up to 9 points and 9 assists. The Celtics have won 44 games in a row when leading by 14 points or more.
4:37 2d quarter, Celtics 32-23: One big problem for the Celtics: they’ve attempted 15 free throws to five for Philadelphia. The Sixers are shooting 23 percent but are in the game because they’re getting to the line.
6:37 2d quarter, Celtics 29-20: The Celtics went almost six minutes without scoring a point. The Sixers made their run because none of the Celtics reserves could score in their stint. All points are from starters.
Good resilience by the Sixers not to let the start take them out of the game. Now the Celtics are counter-punching. We have a ball game here.
9:29 2d quarter, Celtics 24-14: The Celtics are struggling with Rondo off the floor. Usually a turnover leads to a score, but without Rondo, the Celtics can’t take advantage.
END 1st quarter, Celtics 24-12: The Sixers are shooting 19 percent. Brandon Bass has 10 points.
3:33 1st quarter, Celtics 20-5: The Sixers can’t do anything right. The Celtics have Garnett out of the game and they’re not losing their lead. Doc Rivers has sped up his rotations somewhat.
8:24 1st quarter, Celtics 14-0: It’s an all out blitz. What a start.
10:09 1st quarter, Celtics 9-0: Pierce, Garnett, and Bass have scored. Pierce is 2 of 2. Sixers have taken two bad shots.
Pregame: Doc Rivers cautioned against making too much of his team’s 2-1 lead in the series, saying it wouldn’t be viewed as such a big deal had both teams held serve at home. Senator Scott Brown is in the house in support of his daughter Ayla, who does Philadelphia’s anthems.
The giant parking lot around the Wells Fargo Center and Citizen’s Bank Park is full as two Boston teams are in town. Let’s get it.