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Sixers tie Celtics 2-2; What happens next?

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It was the weekend of Philly meets Boston. One sport was a simple interleague matchup between the surging Phillies and the Boston Red Sox, while across the street, one of the best Sixers playoff games in their history unfolded as they beat the Celtics 92-83 to tie the Eastern Conference semifinals at 2-2.Photo: TIM SHAFFER/REUTERS

The Sixers started off the game playing one of their worst halfs in this (at times) ugly playoff series. The team played shoddy defense, and their shot selection was at times dreadful. Boston came out of the gate with a 14-0 lead, and the Sixers trailed by 15 points at the half. However, the Sixers didn’t quit.

The team was led by Evan Turner (16 points), Lou Williams (15 points), and Andre Iguodala, who slowly but possibly is winning over the Sixers faithful with his clutch play. Iguodala had 16 points, five of them occurring in the final 90 seconds as his three pointer gave the Sixers a five-point lead they never relinquished.

Paul Pierce had 24 points, while Rajon Rondo added 15 points to go with 15 assists. However, as Kevin Garnett goes, so does the Celtics, and he went cold. Garnett scored just nine points on 3-of-12 shooting. This is due in large part to the presence of rookie Lavoy Allen. When Allen is on the floor, Garnett is shooting just 43 percent.

The only playoff game that comes close to this one in recent memory would have to be Game 7 against the Raptors in the 2001 Eastern Conference semifinals. By all rights, the Sixers should be down 3-1, but this is a young team, perhaps too young to know they aren’t supposed to go head to head with a team with three possible future NBA Hall of Famers on it.

Game 5 is usually the most pivotal game in the series. It’s tough to win in Boston, but it’s now a best of three series. The Sixers won a game there already in this series and they can do it again. The team is playing with house money, and no matter what happens, they are gaining invaluable experience.

We’ll see Monday night.

 

Contact Joe Vallee at jvallee@philly2philly.com

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Photo: TIM SHAFFER/REUTERS