Three things we learned Friday night in Game 4:
Hot start, cold finish
The Celtics jumped out to an early 14-0 lead over the Sixers, and you had every reason to believe that this one was o-v-e-r.
The Sixers actually scored eventually, which at the time was a surprise, and kept things about even the rest of the half. The C’s led by 15 points at halftime, more than enough to be able to put a young Sixers team away . . one would think.
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Boston held Philly to just 23.1 percent from the field in the first half, but that defense was nowhere to be found in the second half. And Philly made them pay.
Who was THAT guy?
Here’s the answer you don’t want to hear if you’re a Celtics fan: nobody.
Seriously, nobody stepped up for the Celtics on Friday night. It’s been Kevin Garnett so often, but old reliable looked more the former (old) than the latter (reliable). Garnett finished just 3-of-12 from the field for nine points and 11 rebounds. To make matters worse, he finished with seven turnovers. Not pretty.
Paul Pierce had an okay night (24 points, six rebounds), but his missed layup in the closing minutes of the game proved bigger than anything else. Ray Allen? Just five points.
Rajon Rondo finished with 15 points and 15 assists.
There will be six games
The Celtics had way too many chances to go up 3-1 in the series, and give themselves a chance to close the door in Boston on Monday night. Instead, they suffered maybe their worst loss of the season, completely collapsing in the second half, and allowing Philadelphia to once again believe in itself. A 2-2 series heading back to Boston is a fine situation for the 76ers.
It’s disappointing as heck for a Celtics team that really could have used some extra rest seeing as the Heat-Pacers series could go long as well.
Game 5 is now a must-win for either side. Who wants it more?