Cool Nets bounce back
Brooklyn's team effort secures win as James fails to fire in second half
EASTERN CONFERENCE SEMI-FINAL GAME THREE
BROOKLYN NETS 104
MIAMI HEAT 90
- Miami lead series 2-1
Two losses in Miami didn't faze the Brooklyn Nets.
The post-season, according to their veteran Paul Pierce, is no time to panic.
True to his word, the cool Nets came out to hand the Miami Heat their first defeat of the NBA play-offs yesterday morning (Singapore time), beating the two-time defending champions 104-90 in Game 3 of their best-of-seven Eastern Conference semi-final.
The Nets trimmed their deficit to 2-1, and have a chance to pull even in the series when they host Game 4 tomorrow morning (Singapore time).
Pierce scored 14 points, Deron Williams and Kevin Garnett bounced back from awful offensive efforts, and the Nets withstood LeBron James' 16-point first quarter and held him to two baskets over the final three quarters.
"Tonight was the type of urgency we're going to need for the rest of the series," Pierce said.
Joe Johnson led a balanced Brooklyn attack with 19 points, one of six Nets players to score in double figures.
"That means we have a great collective team effort, and you can't game plan for that," Johnson said.
"When our bench is playing great, we're playing great as a team."
It was the Nets' defence that keyed a dominant third quarter in which Brooklyn held the Heat to five-of-19 shooting from the floor and out-scored the champions 26-14.
That turned Brooklyn's two-point half-time lead into a commanding 77-63 advantage.
Four-time NBA Most Valuable Player James scored 28 points for the Heat, but only 12 after the first period. Dwyane Wade finished with 20 points for Miami. Chris Bosh added 12 points, but Miami's reserves contributed just 25 in the defeat.
"I've been part of a lot of series and understand that the series is never won in two games or in three games. And you move onto the next one and you learn from the previous one how you can get better," said LeBron.
Brooklyn, meanwhile, got a solid effort from their reserves in the win over a Heat team who had won eight straight post-season games.
That streak included victories in the final two games of the 2013 NBA Finals, when they defeated San Antonio for the title, a four-game sweep of Charlotte in the first round and back-to-back home wins against the Nets to open this Eastern Conference semi-final.
Andray Blatche came off the bench and scored 15 points with 10 rebounds in just under 20 minutes. Mirza Teletovic added 12 points and made a trio of three-pointers in the third quarter.
Johnson's effort included five of seven from three-point range as the Nets drained 15 of their 25 attempts from beyond the arc.
"They got in a great rhythm, and even their inside-the-three shots were open," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.
"To sum it up, they outplayed us. They outplayed us in that whole second half." - AFP.
Western Conference semi-final Game Three
Portland Trail Blazers 103 San Antonio Spurs 118
- San Antonio lead series 3-0