PHILADELPHIA (AP) The Philadelphia 76ers told each other in the huddle in the final possessions they were going back to Miami.
Lou Williams proved them right, hitting a 3-pointer with 8.1 seconds left to lead the 76ers to an 86-82 win over the Heat on Sunday and avoid a sweep.
Miami was 95 seconds away from winning Game 4, holding an 82-76 lead. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and the rest of the Heat didn’t score again.
Jrue Holiday made a 3 with 46.6 seconds left that sliced the deficit to one. Williams followed with a 3 from the top of the arc for an 84-82 lead that sent the nearly 20,000 fans into a frenzy.
Game 5 is Wednesday in Miami.
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 22. Bosh scored 12 points and had two blocks late in the game that seemed to seal the win for the Heat.
For the third time this series, the Sixers blew a double-digit lead. This one was a 16-point cushion that seemed as though it was never coming back.
Williams had other ideas – hitting the biggest shot of his career for the improbable win.
Coach Doug Collins told his players in the huddle he couldn’t wait to join them in Miami.
James, Wade and Bosh put the “big” in Big Three for most of the game. For Bosh, it was the two blocked shots on the same possession with Miami holding a late two-point lead. He blocked Williams’ layup and swatted Turner’s short jumper.
On Philadelphia’s next possession, James blocked Turner’s shot.
James hit a step-back jumper for an 80-76 lead.
The Heat, who went on a 22-2 run in the second quarter, appeared in control.
Not for long.
Wade and James both missed in the final minute. Wade misfired after Holiday’s 3 and the Sixers snared the rebound. With the Sixers up four, James drove and missed a 6-footer with 3.8 seconds left.
Collins was aware the Sixers were viewed as nothing more than a minor speed bump for the Heat.
He told his team to play with freedom and joy with the season on the line. Brand even promised the Sixers would “shock the world.”
Going eye-to-eye with the East’s elite, the Sixers may not have shocked the world, but at least South Beach.
Game 4 followed the familiar pattern of Games 1 and 3. Fired up from the start, the 76ers jetted to a 15-point lead. They made nine of their first 15 shots and went on a 13-0 run that at least made the idea of a return trip to Miami plausible.
The Sixers were no pushovers, either, providing some brief sparks when Thaddeus Young head-butted James Jones in front of Miami’s bench. Young responded after Jones shoved Turner as the crowd roared, anticipating a melee. Jones and Young were hit with technical fouls, but things were calm until Spencer Hawes and James jawed late in the fourth.
Miami’s 16-point deficit was turned into a 47-46 lead at halftime. Wade was 6 for 6 for 16 points in the quarter. He scored eight straight points, and his pull-up jumper that made it 43-41 gave Miami its first lead of the game.
Notes: The Sixers had no offensive rebounds and 13 defensive ones in the first quarter. … The Sixers shot 41 percent, the Heat 39.