As Doug Collins pointed out to his team, the Sixers were headed to the line on a clear path foul with a 6 point lead. Iguodala missed both free throws and the team fell apart. The Celtics defense choked the life out of the Sixers offense and they stormed ahead and ended up winning a laugher.
There was another turning point as well. Kevin Garnett went up for a dunk but was met in the air by Hawes and was called for an offensive foul. The crowd erupted in anger. On the next play, the Celtics benefited from a 3 second (make up) call and went down to the other end and scored. The crowd just went nuts and it seemed like the team picked up on the energy.
Can't get too far without having to mention the monster game Brandon Bass had tonight. This team really needed someone to step up and boy did Bass ever step up - in particular in that 3rd quarter. Dunk after dunk led to open jumper after open jumper. It was a beautiful sight. Not bad for a guy that was neglected by Doc in favor of a small-ball lineup that just didn't work in game 4.
Credit Rajon Rondo as well, or orchestrating much of that offensive explosion by Bass. They had a telepathic connection going tonight. Great to see.
KG shook off a shaky game 4 to chip in another big 20 points and was rewarded with an extended rest at the end of the game as the Celtics pulled away and just didn't need to put him back in.
The announcing crew made a point of it, but it is worth pointing out that Ray Allen had a very nice game despite only chipping in 5 points. He played solid defense and made good, smart passes that led to assists or foul shots.
The funny thing is, I was more confident at halftime tonight than I was in game 4. That's just how this team is. Rondo explained it perfectly when he said the team almost plays better when they are trailing much of the game than they do when they have the lead. They just execute better and do the things that are needed to win. Plus, you knew the Sixers would eventually stop hitting shots and the Celtics defense would step up.
Nice, solid win tonight. Now let's close it out in 6.