'Team Resiliency' rises again for a remarkable win

76ers trail by as much as 18 in the second half, but blow past Boston

PHILADELPHIA — Before Friday night's game at the Wells Fargo Center, 76ers coach Doug Collins vowed just one thing — his guys would compete and play hard.

He talked about a team that had been resilient throughout the season, a young squad that nearly let a playoff berth slip away with a second-half swoon but found the resolve to recover in time to nail down the eighth spot in the East.

He talked about a team that didn't let a 1-0 deficit in the Chicago series keep them down.

And a squad that never flinched even after blowing a 10-point, fourth-quarter lead in Game 1 of this Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Celtics.

So, Collins didn't expect his team would allow a nightmarish 107-91 Game 3 to loss to the Celtics on Wednesday night to fester either.

"I just want them to go out and play and not worry about the consequences," Collins said before the game.

Despite all of his positive chatter, you had to wonder if even Collins doubted his team after they delivered an absolutely dreadful first half in Game 4 on Friday.

They were down 14-0 even before Collins sat down and trailed by 15 at three different points in the first quarter.

At halftime, it was 46-31, but frankly, it felt like a 50-point deficit, not 15.

The 76ers were 9-for-39 from the field in the first half, and if those 30 bricks weren't enough to prompt the boos, they threw in eight misses at the foul line to ensure they would be serenaded as they left the floor at halftime.

But as Collins promised, the 76ers kept competing and playing hard, and somehow, some way, this spunky but seldom smooth squad pulled off one of the more remarkable playoff wins in the storied series between East Coast NBA rivals.

The 76ers' remarkable 92-83 comeback victory evened this best-of-seven at two games apiece and assured that the team would have at least one more home game on Wednesday night after Game 5 unfolds Monday in a quite concerned Boston.

The gold standard for 76ers playoff performances against the Celtics was the 34 points that Andrew Toney delivered when he nearly single-handedly burned down the Boston Garden in a 120-106 Philly win over the Celtics nearly 30 years ago to the day, in Game 7 of the 1982 Eastern Conference finals.

It earned Toney the nickname of "Boston Strangler."

Now maybe Andre Iguodala deserves the title, even though many in the sellout crowd of 20,411 wanted to strangle him in the first half.

After missing all five of his shots from the field and missing three of six at the line over the first two quarters, Iguodala spearheaded the 76ers rally with 13 points in the second half.

He made 5 of 7 from the floor overall, 3-for-3 from 3-point range.

But he wasn't alone.

Lou Williams scored 13 points after intermission, while Thaddeus Young and Evan Turner chipped in eight apiece. Jodie Meeks seemingly came out of nowhere for nine points and Lavoy Allen delivered four rebounds and four points in the rally.

The 76ers, down by as much as 49-31 just 70 seconds into the third quarter, kept coming.