The NBA Playoffs: Day 21: Sixers Surprise the Celtics

Andre Iguodala and the Sixers can relax after beating the Celtics
and tying the series at 2-2. Game 5 is on Monday at Boston
(Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
#comeback #collapse
I thought that the Celtics were going to win this game easily after being up by 18 in the third quarter. I even tweeted that the Celtics were looking forward to the East Finals. Geez, I was so wrong. The Sixers made a comeback, outscoring the Celtics 61-37 in the second half to tie the series at 2-2. This was not a choke job by the Celtics but simply a collapse which was caused by the Sixers. Their bench players starring Thad Young and Lou Williams came alive (outscored Celtics 44-12) to cut the deficit into a manageable number then Iguodala took over to close the game for the Sixers. They out-hustled, outplayed and out-rebounded the Celtics who might have taken the game for granted after being up by double digits late. Kevin Garnett had a bad shooting night and he played his worst game of the series (9 pts, 7 turnovers). The Sixers used their running attack to double up fast break points in their favor (27-13) and get them back into the game. The Celtics were unable to keep up in transition.

#AI #Iggy #benchmob
Andre Iguodala was the answer for the Sixers during clutch time. He made a couple of tough shots that included a step back jumper for a 2-point lead then a trey that boosted the lead to 5 points. It was over for the Celtics at that point. Iggy had modest numbers (16 pts, 7 rebs, 4 assts) but his play at the end plus his defense and leadership helped the Sixers make an impressive comeback against the Celtics. Iggy didnt do it alone as their bench stepped up and did maximum damage. Lou Williams was an astounding +28 with 15 points and 8 assists as he led the reserves cut the deficit. On the other hand, Ray Allen was a miserable -24 and he airballed a three-pointer near the end. The bench play was the deciding factor in this game with KG firing blanks, the Celtics needed help from their bench but got nothing.

#NoSweep #LiveAnotherDay
The Lakers escaped with a narrow win vs the Thunder, thanks to their excellent free throw shooting. There will be no sweep for the Thunder but the Lakers arent out of the woods yet with Game 4 coming ahead on Saturday. The Thunder missed crucial shots at the end with Serge Ibaka taking questionable shots ( a contested jumper and a putback when a three was needed) and Durant missing a long, contested three. The OKC Big3 were awesome tonight as they combined for 72 points and 18 rebounds. It was not enough as Kobe and Bynum made a living at the foul line. The Lakers asserted their advantage in rebounding as they continued to get extra opportunities in the clutch and they converted that into free throw points. Coach Brown stuck to an 8-man rotation and played his starters big minutes and that strategy worked for Game 3. It will be interesting to see if the Lakers have anything left for Game 4 due to the heavy minutes from today plus the grueling 7-game series from the Nuggets.

#clutchFts #fouls
Kobe Bryant was clutch tonight with his free throws but not with his jumper/shots. He was a perfect 18-18 plus he made 6 free throws in the last 2 minutes to seal the win for the Lakers. His jumpers were a different matter as he struggled from the field again (9-25) and there was one sequence at the end where he took two straight shots that were both missed. The Lakers got a third opportunity and Kobe missed again but a foul was called to bail him out. Of course, he made both free throws for the lead. The Thunder were down early but they managed to get the lead and were poised to win the game until fouls and more fouls were called. Simply said, the officiating was bad. In no way was the game fixed but the fouls called were erratic and inconsistent. 70 free throws were shot and 52 total fouls were called. Andrew Bynum also shot awful from the field (2-13) but he made up for points with free throws. If the Thunder are able to play defense without fouling or referees dont call too many fouls, the Lakers will be in done in 5 games.

#Tweet/Quote of the Night
"We put them on the line. We can't do that. Down the stretch, you have to defend them (Lakers) without fouling and rebound the basketball. Unfortunately, we came up short." -Thunder coach Scott Brooks talking about the foul fest. 

#Stats #News
  • Lakers and Clippers are playing back-to-backs on Saturday at Staples
  • Sixers 18-point comeback was 2nd highest of the playoffs (27 by Clippers)
  • Spurs are the only undefeated team in the playoffs
  • Thunder whistled for 30 fouls, Lakers for 22
  • FTs: Thunder 26-28, Lakers 41-42 (2nd best percentage in playoff history)
  • Artest and Westbrook had a brief scuffle in the 1st half
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