PHILADELPHIA – The sweep for the Heat was 95 seconds away. Miami held a six-point lead, and had its Big Three on the court with a bevy of clutch plays behind them.

All the 76ers had was their unwavering belief.

When they told Doug Collins in the huddle late in the game, “We’re going back to Miami,” his reply was a simple one.

“I’ll be there with you,” said Collins, the Sixers coach.

Lou Williams proved the Sixers right, hitting the go-ahead 3-pointer from the top of the arc over a lunging Dwyane Wade with 8.1 seconds left to lift Philadelphia to an 86-82 win Sunday.

That shot came 28 seconds after Jrue Holiday stunned Wade with a 3-pointer that sliced the deficit to one. It was all part of a game-ending 10-0 run that sent nearly 20,000 fans into a frenzy — and the Sixers on a surprise trip back to Florida.

Game 5 is Wednesday in Miami.

“D-Wade gave me a little room and I was able to knock it down,” Williams said. “We’ve always been a team that fought, all the way until the end. I just wanted to give us an opportunity to win the basketball game.”

Wade’s tip-in with 1:35 left put the Heat up 82-76. Miami had followed the formula of its Game 1 and Game 3 wins. The Heat trailed by double-digits in the first quarter, only to storm into the lead on the backs of Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh and take over down the stretch.

But the Sixers kept the resolve they’ve had since they recovered from a 3-13 start.

“If you have faith, you have hope. And if you have hope, you have life,” Collins said.

Williams and Evan Turner led the Sixers with 17 points each. Andre Iguodala added 16 points, and Elton Brand had 15 points and 11 rebounds.

James scored 31 points for the Heat and Wade had 22. Bosh scored 12 points and had two blocks late in the game that seemed to seal the win for the Heat.

Wade and James both missed key shots in the final minute, however. Wade misfired on a 13-footer after Holiday’s 3, and the Sixers snared the rebound, setting up Williams’ go-ahead shot. With the Sixers up two, James drove and was blocked by Brand on a jumper in the lane with 3.8 seconds left.

Turner hit two free throws to secure the win.


HAWKS 88, MAGIC 85: Jamal Crawford scored 25 points and Joe Johnson hit four free throws in the final 20 seconds after Atlanta struggled most of the night at the line, helping the Hawks take a 3-1 series lead against visiting Orlando.

The Hawks will try to wrap up the best-of-seven series Tuesday night in Orlando. Atlanta made only 12 of 20 free throws, but Johnson came through when the Magic were forced to foul.

Dwight Howard led the Magic with 29 points and 17 rebounds. His night was marred by eight turnovers, however, including a couple traveling calls when he tried to back in on the collapsing Atlanta defense.


Bulls star Derrick Rose had a walking boot on his left foot and was scheduled for an MRI on his sprained ankle. Coach Tom Thibodeau said trainer Fred Tedeschi told him the All-Star point guard is sore, but the swelling is “not bad.” The top-seeded Bulls have a 3-1 series lead against Indiana and hope to have Rose available for Game 5 on Tuesday. … Spurs center Antonio McDyess expects to play in Game 4 against Memphis tonight despite a neck nerve injury that forced him to leave Saturday night’s loss. Memphis leads the series 2-1.


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