If you thought Game 2 would be as easy as Game 1 was, you haven’t watched much Miami-based basketball.
If you have watched Heat basketball, you would have known Mirza Teletovic’s 6-for-9 shooting from beyond the arc was due at some point this series. Better it happen now, when the rest of the team shoots a combined 2-for-15 from three and the Heat countering with 42% from the perimeter.
The final three of the night, on the left wing by Mario Chalmers with 56 seconds left, provided the dagger for the Heat in a 94-82 win to push Miami’s series lead to two, with two games in Brooklyn awaiting.
Mario was one of six Heat players to convert on a three, with Ray Allen having another stellar outing, shooting 3-for-5 on threes and scoring 13 points, to go along with a team-high eight rebounds.
The three-point shooting of Ray and Mario was key in Miami pulling away late in the fourth quarter. With 6:15 left and the Heat only up two, the Heat turned towards their two best shooters, Mario Chalmers first in the corner off an assist by LeBron, and Ray Allen 45 seconds later to push the lead to eight with 5:09 left.
Ray has now scored 31 points in the first two games of the semifinals, after scoring only 13 in four games against Charlotte. He made as many threes in Game 1 as he did the entire first round, so it’s nice to see him now, especially against his former teammates.
Brooklyn went on to make one field goal over the final six minutes, 53 seconds, after having cut the lead to two. Mirza Teletovic’s layup with 3:09 left was the lone conversion by Brooklyn in the second half of the fourth.
That Teletovic layup preceded one of the most unusual sequences of the game when the Heat held onto the ball for an entire minute, 40 seconds. In that span, three misses by LeBron James were met with three offensive rebounds, each coming from a different Heat player (Allen, Wade, Bosh).
Nearly two minutes after getting the ball with 3:39 left, James finally made a layup with 1:59 left to push the lead back to ten.
Shaun Livingston would make a pair of free throws to cut the lead to eight with 1:54 left. After exchanging turnovers, Mario hit the three that effectively put an end to any chance of Brooklyn comeback.
LeBron led the Heat with 22 points for a second consecutive game, shooting 9-for-18, while also contributing four rebounds, three assists, two steals, and one block in 39 minutes. He capped off the night with a difficult turnaround jumper over Paul Pierce to add insult to injury.
And we got our first LeBron alley-oop of the playoffs!
Chris Bosh dropped in a strong 18 points, six rebounds and three blocks. One of those blocks was a late one on Deron Williams, a reassurance of the $20 million man going scoreless on nine shots, a game after Kevin Garnett went scoreless.
Garnett was no better on offense than he was in Game 1, finishing with four points on eight shots, but also led both teams in rebounds with 12, including five on the offensive glass.
Teletovic led the Nets with 20 points, while Livingston contributed 18, and Joe Johnson and Paul Pierce each put in 13.
Miami got 14 points, seven assists and seven rebounds from Dwyane Wade, and a surprising six points from Rashard Lewis, who made his threes of the playoffs. It’s the first time since 2009 he has made a three in the playoffs.
Initially, the Heat came out with the life of the former team from the regular season. Settling for jumpers and giving up open threes, Miami was playing Brooklyn in a style that was similar to any one of their four regular season losses. They hardly had the execution they had that led to 57% shooting in Game 1, but it was to be expected that the Nets would adjust.
Miami’s points in the paint total was only 34, compared to 52 in Game 1. There was a clear concerted effort by Brooklyn this time around to keep Miami out of the paint, and it worked out well for the most part, until Mario and Ray came around to hit their daggers.
Brooklyn, however, was still reliant on their jumpers. They scored 32 points in the paint, but only shot 33% on 24 three-point attempts. They also shot 40% on contested field goal attempts, after shooting less than 30% in Game 1.
Even with the well-rounded effort, and the career game by Teletovic, the Nets lack the firepower they expected from their veterans. Williams, Garnett, Pierce and Johnson were all no-shows late, none of them making a shot over the final seven minutes, 28 seconds.
Marcus Thornton actually scored six of Brooklyn’s 15 fourth quarter points.
Miami also scored 15 points in a quarter, but did so in the first with a listless start and a less than inspiring effort. The Nets were far more aggressive in their double-teams on LeBron post-ups, leading to the Heat becoming more perimeter-oriented. By then, the Nets simply packed the paint and took advantage of the lack of range of Wade and even James, who missed all three of his three-point attempts.
Brooklyn led by six after one, but the deficit turned into a tie just three minutes into the fourth, following a three by Norris Cole, who is shooting above 50% from three in these playoffs.
But it was at that point where Teletovic hit three consecutive threes to give the Nets a four-point lead with 7:28 left. Miami would actually get stuck at 28 points for nearly three minutes, but Brooklyn could only take as large as a six-point lead.
LeBron would score the Heat’s final eight points, after having only scored three in the first, of the half to close the deficit to one.
Small-ball was the theme of the night as the teams went with some lineups you never thought you’d see, with the Nets having Teletovic as their center, and the Heat having Rashard Lewis as their’s.
As a result, we saw less than ten minutes from Chris Andersen, and less than five minutes from Andray Blatche.
Both squads have fully embraced small-ball, but the Heat are doing it better.