14-0. Hell, after the first three minutes, the Celtics were on pace for a 192-0 win. Your team, your town, your 10-9-8-76ers were getting outhustled by the Geriatric Nursing Homies in every facet of a supposed must-win NBA playoff game.
Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce were battling for every lose ball while the supposed young spring chickens playing in front of the home squad on Friday night looked like they had spent the previous night out partying with Pat Burell.
While the Phillies were outplaying the Red Sox across the street, the Sixers put together one of the most putrid halves of playoff basketball — hell, of basketball, period — that I can ever recall. The aged Celtics who could have bottled their sweat and sold it at the Glassboro Wine Festival this weekend held a commanding 46-31 halftime lead.
The Sixers were on the ropes and sitting ducks for a nasty right hook that would have put them down for the ten count. Face it, a loss in Game 4 gives the Celtics a commanding 3-1 series lead heading back to Boston. Say all you want about how the Sixers played well in Boston. The fact is that two disastrous games in Philly would have given Boston all it needed to shut down the inconsistently feisty Sixers squad for good.
Momentum favored the Beantown Bozos.
Then, it happened.
The Sixers got hit hard and they got back up. And, now, momentum is on their side. They took the Celtics best shot and survived.
Thanks to an impressive display by
streetballer Lou Williams, Thaddeus Young, Lavoy Allen and Andre Iguodala, the Sixers seized control of the series. Williams, who has taken bad shot after bad shot these playoffs, turned it around. His two three-point plays down the stretch energized the crowd at the Wells Fargo Center. His 15 points and eight dimes off the bench were huge.
Iggy drained two huge three-balls in the fourth quarter and showed the promise of a potential star that infuriates the Philly faithful when we don’t see it consistently. He went from goat to hero in mere seconds.
Allen looks like the steal of last June’s draft. The Temple product can flat out play against Garnett. His ten boards paced the Sixers squad.
Maybe it was the Sixers youth that gave them the edge in the end. Maybe youth can outlast basketball IQ in this series. Maybe not.
For now, at least, the Sixers are still relevant and intriguing on May 19. They have a legit shot at a birth in the Eastern Conference Finals in a wacky, wild, weird spring that has seen a path to magic open before their eyes.
Time to tape the ankles that were sprained jumping off the bandwagon around 8:30 on Friday. Buckle up and beat Boston.