The NBA is where amazing happens, and it took place at the Wells Fargo Center last night.
The Sixers even the Eastern Conference semifinal series at 2 by earning an improbable 92-83 victory over the Celtics after playing lousy in the entire first half, which they trailed by 18 points during the course of the game.
No one saw this coming. Not when the Celtics put on an impressive show by playing good defense and shooting well. They were outworking the Sixers. It was so bad that it was 22-7 in the first quarter. Not only did the Sixers miss shots, but they turned the ball over and failed to rebound the ball. The Celtics took advantage of it by scoring points when they had the opportunity.
It was easy to say this is a lost cause. The Celtics knew they had an opponent that was vulnerable, and they felt they could go for the kill with them taking a 46-31 lead at halftime.
What makes basketball beautiful is it is a series of runs during the course of the game where both teams can make a run, so it is never a lost cause even when a team is falling behind. It was about being in a position to win the fourth quarter, and the Sixers had that opportunity after playing so bad in this game.
It was an 8-0 run in the third quarter by the Sixers that set everything in motion. They were in a shooting rhythm by shooting threes to reduce the deficit into single digits. Once they made it a 58-49 game, they got themselves back in the game.
After cutting the Celtics lead down to nine points, the momentum would allow the Sixers to continue their run by making more shots, and it was good enough for them to make it a 63-59 game heading to the fourth quarter.
Not only was it impressive that they actually turned this into a game, but the 51.2 shooting percentage in the second half made it impossible for the Celtics to hold them off. Sixers shot four three-pointers in the fourth quarter, and that made it easy for them to make this a four-point game midway in the fourth quarter. This has to be their best shooting performance all season. That had them believing they can pull off something special. When a player shoots well, it gives them confidence where he expects the ball to go in once he shoots. That’s how shooters can get in a groove.
Lou Williams, Andre Iguodala and Thaddeus Young could not miss. They kept shooting in the fourth quarter, and it helped the Sixers tie the game at 68.
The Celtics did not know what hit them. They also started struggling as the Sixers were rolling. When Thaddeus Young tied the game at 74, it was a sign everything was going the Sixers’ way. Even when the Celtics found their shooting groove, they were not going to be denied as they continued to score.
In the end, the Sixers pulled it off by getting enough stops and making shots to finish the game as the victors.
Others gave up, but not the Sixers. They are wired to not give up no matter the circumstances. It’s part of being a professional. It’s part of their DNA to give themselves a chance by giving it their all. They know they have to earn their salary by playing 48 minutes. Their players have played enough games to know big leads go away quicky when it happens early in the game, so they knew they had a chance despite what happened in the first half.
This is the type of win can change momentum for a team in a playoff series. The Sixers have to feel good about their chances of beating the Celtics in the Eastern Conference semifinal series. It’s not easy to make a comeback like that against a good team, so if they can pull a win like that, they can win the series.
It is going to come down to them making shots like they did last night. Shooters can be streaky on offense. If they get on a roll in one game, they can sustain this for another game. That’s what the Sixers are banking on heading to Game 5 Monday night at Boston.
This win by the Sixers means the possibilities are endless. It’s time to believe they can pull it off. They have played the Celtics well all year, and this second round is no fluke. If they can win the two games, they can certainly win two more.
If the Sixers advance to the Eastern Conference finals, it would be okay to dream about the NBA Finals. The Pacers are beatable. With Dwyane Wade going through injury issues and LeBron James having confidence issues, Miami can be beaten
The Sixers have to give a reason to believe in them, and this win certainly should get folks optimistic about not just this series, but in the next round.
There’s no question the Sixers believe in themselves, and that was before they made that comeback. They felt this series was winnable, and they have those two wins against the Celtics to show they can indeed beat them two more times.
This Game 5 victory said a lot about the character and talent of the Sixers. It also symbolized the hard working class of Philadelphia that have a lunchpail mentality when they go to work everyday.