The sweep for the Heat was 95 seconds away. Miami held a six-point lead, had The Big Three on the court and 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 three-pointer from the top of the arc over a lunging Dwyane Wade with 8.1 seconds left that lifted Philadelphia to an 86-82 win over the Heat on Sunday and avoided a sweep.
Sweet Lou, indeed!
His three came 28 seconds after Jrue Holiday stunned Wade with a three 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 Five is Wednesday in Miami.
Celtics finish sweep
NEW YORK -- The Boston Celtics never let this develop into the intriguing series that was expected.
Instead, they turned it into the easiest one their current group has ever experienced.
Kevin Garnett had 26 points and 10 rebounds, Rajon Rondo added 21 points and 12 assists, and the Celtics swept their way into the Eastern Conference semifinals, holding on for a 101-89 victory over the New York Knicks on Sunday.
Ray Allen and reserve Glen Davis each added 14 points for the Celtics, the first team into the second round after sweeping a series for the first time since a 3-0 victory over Indiana in 1992, the last series victory for their old Big Three before Larry Bird retired.
"It's what we expected coming in. We knew it wasn't going to be easy, obviously Games One and Two, but we found a way to put it away," Rondo said. "We haven't swept a team in a long time, so it's good feeling."
Sunday's other games
In Atlanta, Jamal Crawford scored 25 points and Joe Johnson hit four big free throws in the final 20 seconds after Atlanta struggled most of the night at the line. They led the Hawks to an 88-85 victory over the Orlando Magic and a 3-1 lead in their Eastern Conference playoff series.
Chris Paul had 27 points, 15 assists and 13 rebounds, and the New Orleans Hornets held on for a 93-88 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers to even their first-round playoff series at 2-2. Kobe Bryant had 17 points for the Lakers, but did not score in the first half. Trevor Ariza added 19 for New Orleans.
The Grizzlies have a surprising 2-1 lead over the top-seeded Spurs. That gives Memphis an opportunity to grab control of the series (8 p.m., TNT).
The Mavericks blew a 23-point fourth-quarter lead against the Trail Blazers, so Portland is tied, 2-2, in the series entering tonight's fifth game in Dallas.
The Nuggets are on the brink of being swept. Oklahoma City goes into tonight's Game Four (10:30 p.m., TNT) with a 3-0 lead.