Through nine post season contests, the 76ers employed a scoring by committee approach to their offense, until the team needed their All-Star the most.
Less than 90 seconds from facing a 3-1 series deficit, with the series shifting back to Boston, forward Andre Iguodala ensured Philadelphia would get even Friday night, carrying his team to a 92-83 win in Game 4.
Rajon Rondo tied the contest at 83 with a jumper in the lane, but his shot served as the final points of the night for Boston.
In an isolation with Ray Allen, Iguodala stutter-stepped, crossed his defender then drained the 17-foot step back jumper.
On the next possession, he put the game away.
Lou Williams slashed towards the rim and as the Celtics defense collapsed on him, dished the ball out to an open Iguodala for his second 3-pointer of the fourth quarter.
Iguodala scored eight of his 16 points in the final four minutes, part of a 33 point fourth quarter, matching Philadelphia’s highest scoring total in any quarter during the series.
Once again it was a total team approach that helped the 76ers overcome an 18-point third quarter deficit.
The comeback was the second largest of the post season, trailing only the Clippers incredible fourth quarter performance during Game 1 in Memphis.
Any hope of tying the series appeared to be lost immediately, as the Celtics scored the first 12 points and connected on their first five shots of the game.
Everything seemed to be clicking for the Celtics, Rondo was once again the dominant player on the offensive end, registering 15 assists along with 15 points, four rebounds and two steals.
Paul Pierce finished with 24 points, six rebounds, two blocks and two steals to lead Boston.
Their defense limited Philadelphia to 25 percent shooting from the field over the first three quarters and only 31 points in the first half.
The 76ers raced back into the game with a 28 point performance in the third quarter and then found its shooting touch over the final 12 minutes.
Philadelphia sank 11-of-22 attempts from the field, including three from beyond the arc to cap its stunning run.
Iguodala’s 3-pointer with 3:11 remaining not only tied the game, but signified his arrival as the go-to scorer for the 76ers.
Throughout his eight-year career, all in Philadelphia, Iguodala has embraced many roles.
Following the departure of Allen Iverson, he was asked to take over the scoring load and he excelled, averaging a career-high 19.9 points per game in 2007-08.
Only the 76ers didn’t experince much success, winning just 40 games and falling to Detroit in the opening round of the playoffs.
Under coach Doug Collins, Iguodala has embraced his role as defensive stopper while sacrificing his scoring.
Iguodala has seen is scoring average decrease each of the past four seasons, but even though he posted just 12.4 points per game this season, he was selected as an Eastern Conference All-Star for the first time in his career.
Along with his terrific individual defense, Iguodala averaged 1.7 steals, 5.5 assists and 6.1 rebounds per game.
His defense was on full display last night. After Pierce scored 22 points, he only attempted one shot from the field, a layup he missed over the final 8:40 of the contest.
As hot as Boston started the game, the closed it my missing five of its last six shots, as the 76ers scored the final nine points on the night.
The 76ers improved to 3-1 at the Wells Fargo Center in the playoffs and Friday’s win guaranteed at least one more appearance at home this season.
In nine post season appearances this year, Iguodala scored 20 points on one occasion, but it came during Philadelphia’s closeout performance against the Bulls.
Maybe the 76ers don’t need him to light up the scoreboard for all 48 minutes, but Iguodala proved he can knockdown the tough shots when his team needs him the most.