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Andre Igoudala and Even Turner each scored 16 points and Lou Williams added 15 off the bench as the Philadelphia 76ers blasted the Boston Celtics 92-83 at the Wachovia Center evening their Eastern Conference Semifinals series at 2 games apiece. Igoudala shot 5/12 (42%) overall along with 7 rebounds and 4 assists. Turner struggled from the floor (5/22 23%) all night but collected 9 rebounds. Williams made 5/11 (46%) overall and handed out a team high 8 assists. The 76ers shot just 38% from the field overall but converted 5/11 (46%) from 3 point range and sunk 25/36 (69%) from the charity stripe. They also held a decisive edge on the boards (52-38) and recorded 19 team assists against just 10 turnovers. Paul Pierce led all scorers with 24 points while Rajon Rondo and Brandon Bass each added 15. No other Celtic managed double figures as Kevin Garnett was held to just 9 points on 3/12 (25%) from the floor. Pierce shot 8/13 (2%) overall and collected 6 rebounds while Rondo was 7/14 (50%) and dished out a team high 15 assists. Garnett did pull down 11 rebounds but also committed 8 of his team's 18 turnovers. Boston shot 42% from the floor but made only 7/23 (30%) from 3 point range despite 16/19 (84%) from the free throw line. Pierce and Avery Bradley hit 3-pointers, Garnett hit a pull-up 20-footer and the Celtics raced to a 14-0 lead only 3½ minutes into the game. The Sixers truly couldn't find their footing. Nick Young bounced the ball off his sneaker on a drive down the lane, and Pierce converted on the other end for an 18-3 lead. The Celtics could never find that extra scoring boost to truly put away the Sixers. Rondo, Garnett and Allen all had quiet first 24 minutes and the Celtics let the lead drop to seven. Rondo scored an uncontested bucket coming out of a timeout to end the half and put the Celtics up 46-31. The Sixers just kept attacking, turning a first half of airballs, botched dunks and sloppy defense into a full-blown display of near-flawless basketball. They outscored Boston 61-37 in the second half, and Thaddeus Young's thunderous slam tied the game at 63 in the middle of the fourth. And when Jodie Meeks drained a 3-pointer on the Sixers' next trip down the court for Philadelphia's first lead a packed crowd of 20,411 fans stomped their feet and unleashed two hours of pent-up jubilation. After Garnett blocked Allen's shot, Young snagged the ball out of the air and scored to make it 74 all. Iguodala put the Sixers ahead 85-83 with a step-back jumper over a flailing Ray Allen with 1:22 left. Then he took the feed from a driving Williams and buried a 3-pointer for a five-point lead. Game 5 is Monday night back at TD Gardens.
Kobe Bryant scored 36 points and Andrew Bynum added 15 as the LA Lakers edged the Oklahoma City Thunder 99-96 at the Staples Center cutting Oklahoma City's lead in their Western Conference Semifinals series to 2-1. Bryant shot jut 9/25 (36%) from the floor overall but sank all 18 of his free throw attempts while collecting 7 rebounds and handing out 6 assists. Bynum managed just 2/13 (15%) overall but drained 11/12 (92%) from the charity stripe along with 11 rebounds. Pau Gasol, Ramon Sessions and Steve Blake each contributed 12 points for LA, who despite shooting only 39% overall converted an astounding 41/42 (98%) from the charity stripe. Gasol also collected 11 rebounds and Blake off the bench boarded 8 and the Lakers held a 44-37 rebounding edge despite committing 16 turnovers. Kevin Durant led Oklahoma City with 31 points on 12/23 (52%) from the field. Russell Westbrook and James Harden each added 21 for the Thunder, who shot just 40% from the floor including a dismal 4/17 (24%) from 3 point range. Both teams missed just a combined 3 free throws as OKC converted 26/28 (93%) from the foul line. The Thunder committed only 9 turnovers but recorded just 13 team assists. Westrbrook (7/18 39%) and Harden (4/13 31%) combined to shoot just 11/31 (35%) overall despite the success at the ft line. Tempers flared in the second quarter when Westbrook furiously attempted to prevent World Peace from tying him up for a jump ball. Metta World Peace's knee came down on Westbrook's leg during a brief skirmish including Jordan Hill, and both Westbrook and World Peace received technical fouls. The game was the first of four second-round NBA playoff games in just over 48 hours at Staples Center, also the site of the NHL's Western Conference finals between and Kings and Phoenix on Thursday and Sunday. The top-seeded San Antonio Spurs will face the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday in an afternoon game before the Thunder and Lakers play Game 4. After blowing a seven-point lead in the final two minutes of Game 2, Los Angeles finished Game 3 on a 6-2 run in the final 33 seconds. The Thunder led by 5 with 3:00 remaining but got outscored 12-4 down the stretch including 2 crucial free throws from Bryant late to seal the deal. Game 4 is Saturday night at the Staples Center.