Sixers avoid being swept

Tom Mihalek/AP Photo
Philadelphia's Lou Williams (left) hits a go-ahead 3-pointer over Miami guard Dwyane Wade with 8.1 seconds left on Sunday. The 76ers staved off elimination with the win.

PHILADELPHIA --- 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 his teammates right, hitting the go-ahead 3-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.

His 3 came 28 seconds after Jrue Holiday stunned Wade with a 3 that sliced the deficit to one. It was all part of a game-ending 10-0 run -- 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.

The 76ers still may eventually lose this series.

Just not Sunday.

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

The Sixers kept the resolve they've had since they turned a 3-13 start into the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference. The Sixers staggered down the stretch and won for only the second time since April 2.

Williams' celebration was muted. He simply turned around and calmly walked back to a delirious huddle as if he expected to swish the winner all along.

"That shot right there didn't beat us," Wade said.

Miami shot 39 percent; made 5 of 23 3-pointers; scored 16 bench points; and, again, trailed big early.

"We've proven all year long that we were able to close those types of games out," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "We were not able to tonight."

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.

Wade and James both missed baskets in the final minute that could have thrust the Heat back into it.

Wade misfired on a 13-footer 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.

"We're going to have to actually do it when it counts most," Bosh said.