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Sixers roar back to even up series

Sixers forward Thaddeus Young drives past the Celtics’ Paul Pierce for a layup. The Sixers erase a 46-31 halftime deficit.

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Sixers forward Thaddeus Young drives past the Celtics’ Paul Pierce for a layup. The Sixers erase a 46-31 halftime deficit.

PHILADELPHIA — Andre Iguodala snapped a tie with five straight points in the final 90 seconds to help the 76ers storm back from a 15-point deficit Friday night and stun the Celtics 92-83 in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

The young Sixers were reborn in the second half and played like a squad that refused to roll over for the Celtics.

"I don't even know where to start," 76ers coach Doug Collins said. "Our guys are pretty amazing. They really are."

Philly tied the best-of-seven series at 2 with the huge comeback and guaranteed a return home for one more game.

Iguodala, one of the most maligned athletes in recent Philadelphia history, put the Sixers ahead 85-83 with a step-back jumper and hit a 3-pointer for a five-point lead.

Iguodala and Evan Turner had 16 points each and Lou Williams added 15.

Kevin Garnett had his first bad outing in an otherwise monster series with nine points. With Garnett in a funk, so were the Celtics.

The Sixers kept attacking, turning a first half of airballs, botched dunks and sloppy defense into a full-blown display of near-flawless basketball.

Thaddeus Young's thunderous slam tied the score at 63 in the middle of the fourth. Jodie Meeks drained a 3 on the Sixers' next trip down the court for Philadelphia's first lead. Williams hounded Paul Pierce and forced a turnover, fed the ball to a streaking Turner for a dunk and put the lead at 68-65.

Pierce had 24 points and Rajon Rondo had 15 points and 15 assists. Garnett, who turns 36 today, missed nine of 12 shots.

Philadelphia outscored Boston, 61-37, in the second half and led 44-12 in bench scoring.

"Coming out of halftime they came out more physical, and we got into that instead of playing basketball. We lost our composure," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said.

BOSTON (83): Pierce 8-13 4-4 24, Bass 6-10 3-4 15, Garnett 3-12 3-4 9, Rondo 7-14 1-1 15, Bradley 2-6 3-4 8, Hollins 1-2 0-0 2, R.Allen 2-6 0-0 5, Pietrus 1-4 2-2 5, Dooling 0-4 0-0 0, Daniels 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 30-71 16-19 83.

PHILADELPHIA (92): Iguodala 5-12 3-6 16, Brand 1-2 1-2 3, Hawes 1-5 0-0 2, Holiday 4-9 3-3 11, Turner 5-22 6-9 16, L.Allen 4-10 0-0 8, T.Young 4-8 4-6 12, L.Williams 5-11 4-6 15, Meeks 2-3 4-4 9. Totals 31-82 25-36 92.

Boston 24 22 17 20— 83

Philadelphia 12 19 28 33— 92

3-Point GoalsBoston 7-23 (Pierce 4-6, R.Allen 1-4, Bradley 1-4, Pietrus 1-4, Rondo 0-2, Dooling 0-3), Philadelphia 5-11 (Iguodala 3-3, Meeks 1-2, L.Williams 1-4, Holiday 0-2). Fouled OutNone. ReboundsBoston 44 (Garnett 11), Philadelphia 62 (L.Allen 10). AssistsBoston 23 (Rondo 15), Philadelphia 18 (L.Williams 8). Total FoulsBoston 28, Philadelphia 19. TechnicalsGarnett, Hollins, Brand, Hawes. A20,411 (20,318).

Heat takes a break

INDIANAPOLIS — As panic ensued along South Beach and the scrutiny intensified, the Heat decided to chill out. After the storm, there was silence.

A day after Miami lost by 19 points and Dwyane Wade lost his cool in Game 3 against Indiana, the Heat canceled practice and media availability. It stayed in its downtown hotel.

A team that loves the spotlight dodged it for a day.

Trailing 2-1 in the series and with Chris Bosh out, the Heat has two days before Sunday's Game 4, which LeBron James deemed vital to the title chase.

"It's a must-win, honestly," the league MVP said after Game 3.

The Pacers also took advantage of the two-day break, skipping practice. Teams are not typically required to meet with the media when there are two days off between games and they do not practice.

Clippers, down 2-0, look for signs of life

LOS ANGELES — Down 2-0 after Thursday's 105-88 loss to the Spurs, the Clippers face the task of needing two wins at home to catch the NBA's hottest team in the West semifinals.

Today's Game 3 is crucial for the Clippers. No team in league history has rallied from a 3-0 deficit to win a series.

"The next game is our Game 7," Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said. "We got to fight, we got to claw, we got to do whatever we can."

Around the league

BLAKE THREATENED: Lakers guard Steve Blake and his wife received multiple online threats after he missed a big shot late in Los Angeles' 77-75 Game 2 loss to Oklahoma City in their West semifinal.

"I let our security people know about it and kind of kept a record of what was said just in case, but other than that, try not to make a big deal out of it," Blake said.

Blake said he and his wife, Kristen, were besieged on Twitter by curses, threats, and "people saying things I don't even really want to repeat," he said.

He rarely uses Twitter, but his wife is a frequent user of social media. The family has three young children.

MORE LAKERS: Pau Gasol won the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award for his extensive charity work as a UNICEF ambassador, winning a vote by members of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

"It's a great honor for any player to receive," Gasol said after a shootaround in preparation for Game 3 late Friday against Oklahoma City.

HAWKS: The team is exercising its option on coach Larry Drew's contract for next season. He returns for a third season despite the team's first-round exit from the playoffs.

Sixers roar back to even up series 05/19/12 [Last modified: Saturday, May 19, 2012 1:26am]
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