PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 16: Evan Turner #12 and...

PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 16: Evan Turner #12 and Andre Iguodala #9 of the Philadelphia 76ers stand on the court during the game against the Boston Celtics in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs at the Wells Fargo Center on May 16, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)

In a remarkable Game 4, the Philadelphia Sixers overcame an early abysmal performance and as much as an 18-point deficit to even their NBA Eastern Conference series against the Boston Celtics.  This was a Boston Celtic team who many proclaimed had “levied an old school beatdown” on the Philadelphia Sixers in Game 3 largely because their next potential opponent, the Miami Heat, was vulnerable with the loss of their center Chris Bosh.  In effect, the Boston Celtics had “the eye of the tiger.”  They smelled and tasted the Eastern Conference championship.  However, if you know anything about Philly, you know it’s the city that embodies this notion of “the eye of the tiger.”  And, this was certainly proven tonight.

The Philadelphia Sixers could barely muster enough enthusiasm and energy to score more than 10 points in the first quarter.  Their team play was sloppy and they just could not put the ball in the basket. As I watched the game, I could only hope they wouldn’t embarrass themselves. The Boston Celtics continued where they left off in Game 3.  They poured in the points jumping to a 14-0 lead early in the first quarter, and led the Philadelphia Sixers 24-12 at the end of the quarter.

The Sixers narrowed their losing deficit by the end of the second quarter (22-19), but trailed the Celtics by a significant 15 points at the half.  Clearly, the Boston Celtics had dominated the half.  It was so bad that Mike Wilbohn, ESPN analyst, reversed his prediction at halftime that the Philadelphia Sixers could win this game, bantering “I give up, I give up.”

I love a good underdog story.  And, I’ve been impressed by this young Sixer basketball team. In my opinion, everything they did wrong in the first half and everything the Celtics did right had to be completely reversed in the second half for the Sixers to pull out a victory.  This didn’t seem likely.

But, that’s what happened and that’s what makes sports so exciting at times.  In the highly predictable NBA playoffs, the Philadelphia Sixers made the unpredictable possible.  The Celtics had their core “superstars,” Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen; supplemented by Rajon Rondo their playmaker and field general.  By comparison, the Sixers had their recent entry to the NBA All-Star team, Andrei Iguodala.  It is commonly accepted that the Philadelphia Sixers do not possess a real “superstar.”  Yet they do have some young studs; Evan Turner, Jrue Holiday, Thaddeus Young, Lou Williams and an emerging rookie, Lavoy Allen.

In the second half of this game, these young studs played as a team.  Team play can provide some outstanding results and the Philadelphia Sixers proved this tonight. They outscored the Boston Celtics 28-17 in the third quarter, narrowing the lead to four points going into the fourth and final quarter.  Still, the more seasoned Celtics had every opportunity to close the deal in the final quarter, but they failed to take advantage of their opportunity.  The younger, hungrier and more energetic Philadelphia Sixers outscored the Celtics 33-20 in the fourth quarter to walk away with a 92-83 victory.  The Sixer team closed the deal and won the game!  It was truly a team effort.  Kudos to coach Doug Collins and the Philadelphia Sixers!  They caught the “eye of the tiger” tonight and rode it to victory!

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