Celtics

Celtics blow lead, collapse in Philadelphia, 92-83

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Celtics blow lead, collapse in Philadelphia, 92-83

PHILADELPHIA Fast starts, a futile finish.

It has been that way throughout this Boston-Philadelphia playoff series, and Game 4 was no exception.

After a red-hot start by Boston, the Celtics could not overcome a foul-plagued game that ended with a disappointing 92-83 loss.

The series is now tied at 2-2, with Game 5 in Boston on Monday, and Game 6 in Philadelphia on Wednesday.

Philadelphia's Andre Iguodala drilled a 3-pointer with 36.9 seconds to play that put the Sixers ahead 88-83, and all but sealed the victory.

Boston immediately called a time-out, well aware that the odds of them pulling out a win at that point were slim, at best.

Out of the time-out, Ray Allen took a rushed 3-pointer that hit nothing but the outstretched arms of a Sixers big man waiting for the air ball to land in his hands.

Jodie Meeks went to the free throw line and made a pair with 32.2 seconds to play, making the game's outcome a mere formality.

Several factors contributed to the C's loss, but none loom as large as the high number of fouls that the C's were whistled for, with official Bill Kennedy making a number of those calls.

For the game, the Celtics were called for 28 personal fouls compared to 19 for the Sixers. That contributed to Philadelphia taking 36 free throw attempts compared to 19 for the C's.

The Sixers fell behind by as many as 18 points, but rallied to tie the game at 63 with more than 10 minutes to play following a driving lay-up by Thaddeus Young.

From there, it became a game that like the first two, was going to come down to which team did a better job of executing in the game's closing minutes.

Boston went up 79-76 following a pair of free throws from Kevin Garnett, only for Iguodala to hit a game-tying 3-pointer.

His basket was soon followed by a jumper from Rajon Rondo which gave the Celtics an 81-79 lead with 2:49 to play.

For most of the night, the Celtics seemed well on their way to a similar blowout akin to their 16-point Game 3 win on Wednesday night.

Boston pushed its lead up to 18 in the third quarter, but foul trouble was starting to become an issue for the C's as the Sixers continued to make a killin' from the free throw line.

After a free throw by Avery Bradley put the Celtics ahead 49-31, Philadelphia countered with an 8-1 spurt with half of their points coming from the free throw line.

Philadelphia's run and Boston's offensive rut seemingly had no end in sight until Paul Pierce snapped an 0-for-the-quarter shooting slump by the Celtics with a 3-pointer that pushed Boston's lead to 54-46 at the 5:05 mark.

The Celtics had missed their previous nine shot attempts in the quarter.

HOT SHOT: Andre Iguodala came up with one big shot after another for the Sixers, with none bigger than the 3-pointer he hit with 36 seconds to play that put the Sixers ahead by five points. He finished with 16 points on 5-for-12 shooting, along with seven rebounds and four assists.

IN-N-OUT: Kevin Garnett was about as big a non-factor as we've seen him all season. He finished with just nine points on 3-for-12 shooting from the field, along with 11 rebounds and a whopping seven turnovers.

SUPER SUB: Thaddeus Young continues to provide the kind of impact off the bench that has given the Celtics major fits throughout this series. He had 12 points on 4-for-8 shooting, along with nine rebounds and three assists.

TURNING POINT: With the Sixers ahead 85-83, Rajon Rondo missed a driving lay-up attempt that was blocked by Young. Moments later, Iguodala hit a 3-pointer that put the C's on their heels and they were never able to bounce back.

QUOTE OF NOTE: "We lost our composure. We never returned to playing basketball like we did in the first half." - Celtics coach Doc Rivers.

Gordon Hayward will have surgery on ankle Wednesday night

Gordon Hayward will have surgery on ankle Wednesday night

BOSTON – Gordon Hayward will have surgery on his left ankle tonight, according to a league source.

Hayward, who suffered a left ankle injury in the first quarter of Boston’s 102-99 loss at Cleveland on Tuesday night, was considering having the surgery in Boston or back in Indiana by a doctor who had operated on him when he played at Butler.

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It’s too soon to determine a timetable for Hayward’s return, although the Celtics anticipate he will most if not all of the remainder of this season.

Hayward’s injury delivers a major blow to a Celtics team that were considered a top-two team in the East by most.

With Hayward out for an extended period of time, teams like Washington and Toronto are likely to get more serious consideration as another strong threat to Cleveland which has advanced to the NBA Finals each of the last three seasons.

Replacing Hayward in the Celtics starting lineup was Marcus Smart who joined Kyrie Irving, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Al Horford.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Celtics expecting 'full recovery' for Hayward, but have no timetable

Celtics expecting 'full recovery' for Hayward, but have no timetable

BOSTON – After going through a series of tests earlier today, the results confirmed what the Celtics’ medical officials had determined earlier which is Hayward has a dislocated left ankle and a fractured tibia.

Gordon Hayward will have surgery on his left ankle tonight, according to a league source.

“We’re expecting this to be a full recovery,” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens who added, “No timeline on it but a full recovery.”

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Hayward suffered the injury in the first quarter of Boston’s 102-99 loss at Cleveland on Tuesday.

The 6-foot-8 All-Star landed awkwardly on his ankle after a lob pass by Kyrie Irving was deflected by LeBron James.

Players from both teams were visibly affected by the gruesome injury that puts Hayward’s return this season very much up in the air.

“He’s down, obviously,” Stevens said of Hayward. “There’s a physical pain to it, but that’s also doubled by the emotional pain. He put a lot of effort into trying to start this, his career out well in Boston.”

Stevens said Marcus Smart will be inserted into the starting lineup, joining Kyrie Irving, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum and Al Horford.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE