Whatever it was that worked so well for the Brooklyn Nets in the regular season when they faced the Miami Heat doesn’t seem to be helping anymore. After a rough first quarter in terms of shooting both LeBron James and the rest of his teammates regrouped and focused, taking control of the game en route to a 94-82 win and taking a 2-0 lead in the conference semifinals.
James finished with 22 points again, struggling early with his jump shots and the defense of Paul Pierce. It wasn’t just him. The Heat scored only 5 points on jump shots (2-of-12 from the field) in the first quarter, but things went a lot better later on, especially on catch and shoot plays. They had 43 points on such plays the rest of the night, including 10-of-16 on catch-and-shoot, explaining once again why Ray Allen had such a great game.
There’s something special about Allen and this series, facing Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. Two players who won an NBA championship with Allen, and hate him for leaving Boston, the same thing they did once it was time to jump ship. Allen scored 13 points to go with 8 rebounds and with 16 points per game in the series is outscoring the both of them, who combined to score 17 points after an embarrassing 8 points combined in game 1.
But even Garnett with his four points and 2-of-8 from the field, another night that makes you wonder if it wouldn’t be best for him to retire at the end of this season, wasn’t the worst player for the Nets. Deron Williams has been mentioned more than once as the most important player on this team. With 0 points on 0-of-9 from the field, it’s no wonder the Nets find themselves in a 0-2 hole after losing twice by double digits.
Mirza Teletovic had a solid start to finish with 20 points, as the Heat had to give up on chasing down someone, but down the line they got their stops, and more than anything, had that incredible 1:40 possession that killed the game for good. LeBron James missed three shots in that long stretch from 3:31 in the fourth, leading by eight points. Three offensive rebounds by the league’s worst offensive rebounding team gave James a fourth chance, cutting to the basket and receiving a pass from Dwyane Wade to make it a 10 point game with less than two minutes left. Over.
The Heat are winning with defense by playing better offense than we saw from them during the regular season against the Nets. Not a lot of chances for fast breaks but the ball is moving very well and there doesn’t seem to be a tendency by James to take over. Chris Bosh had 18 points, Dwyane Wade finished with 14 and Mario Chalmers have a very good game with 11 points and some excellent defense.
The Nets keep saying that it’s far from over, but they haven’t shown anything on their two visits to Miami to make anyone believe in their ability to turn things around. LeBron James teams, Cavs or Heat, never let go of a 2-0 lead. The Nets can lose at home and are bad with only two days of rest in these playoffs. We might see some improvement from them, but right now it seems like it’ll take a pretty big one to change the direction this season is headed towards.