PHILADELPHIA -- In an epic second-half collapse, the Celtics let a chance to take a stranglehold of the series slip through their hands in a 92-83 loss to the Sixers Friday night in Game 4 at Wells Fargo Center. Andre Iguodala hit a key 3-pointer with 35 seconds remaining to cap a huge Philadelphia second-half comeback that had them erase an 18-point deficit.
Paul Pierce had 24 points for the Celtics, who now find themselves tied, 2-2, in the best of seven Eastern Conference semifinal series. Game 5 is Monday back in Boston.
Like Game 2, the Celtics came out blazing hot, racing out to a 14-0 lead in the opening four minutes. The Celtics made their five shots while the Sixers missed their first four shots. Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley had two rebounds apiece as the Celtics would build their lead to 15 four times in the first quarter and lead, 24-12, after 12 minutes.
Brandon Bass was a beast in the opening quarter, scoring 10 points, while Pierce added seven. The Celtics were helped by Philadelphia settling for quick jump shots every time down the floor. Philadelphia made just three of their 16 shots. Things didn't improve much in the second quarter as the Sixers were booed loudly by their own fans often. The Sixers did everything wrong. Thaddeus Young and Iguodala missed dunks in spectacular fashion, they made just 9-of-39 shots and missed eight of their 21 free throws.
The Sixers took advantage of Boston's cold shooting to start the second quarter to make a run. They scored the first six points of the quarter to cut the Celtics lead down to six at 24-18 midway through the quarter. Then Rondo took over, converting a layup while getting fouled. Rondo completed the three-point play to start a 22-13 Boston run to end the first half, which including his layup with 0.7 seconds remaining, sending the Celtics to the locker room with a 46-31 lead.
Bradley hit a jumper and a free throw after reinjuring his left shoulder as the Celtics built their lead to 18 at 49-31. But the Sixers came storming back as the Celtics got into foul trouble. Philadelphia went on a 15-2 as Bradley, Brandon Bass and Rajon Rondo all picked up their fourth fouls. Pierce appeared to stem the tide twice with 3-point jumpers as the Celtics headed into the fourth with just a four-point lead, 63-59.
Pietrus hit a pair of free throws with 10:01 left to put Boston up, 65-63 but Jodie Meeks came down 15 seconds later and nailed a three to give the Sixers their first lead of the game, 66-65. Pierce layup and fouled with 8:40 left tied the game, 68-68. Rondo drove to the basket with 7:58 to put Boston back up, 70-68. From that point on, the two longtime rivals traded baskets and surges.
Rajon Rondo hit a layup with 1:38 to tie the game at 83. The Celtics would not score again. Iguodala hit a jumper over Pierce with 1:22 left to give the Sixers the lead for good, 85-83. Rondo missed layup and Iguodala a three with 36.9 seconds remaining prove to be the killing blow.
Game 5 is set for Monday night at TD Garden, with Game 6 two nights later back in Philadelphia. For complete coverage, including video, from the team of Paul Flannery and Mike Petraglia on site in Philadelphia, visit the Celtics team page at weei.com/celtics  and Green Street  blog.