Stifling Heat smothers Nets
Updated: 2014-05-08 06:44
By Associated Press in Miami (China Daily)
Rest didn't lead to rust for the defending NBA champion Miami Heat in Tuesday's opening game of their Eastern Conference semifinal against the Brooklyn Nets.
LeBron James scored 22 points, Ray Allen added 19 and the Heat stayed perfect in this postseason by beating the Nets 107-86. It was the first win for Miami in five meetings with Brooklyn this season.
"It's only one," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "But I liked the energy, the activity."
Chris Bosh scored 15 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, Dwyane Wade finished with 14 points and Mario Chalmers had 12 for Miami, which recorded at least one regular-season win against every team except Brooklyn, losing four times by a total of 12 points.
This one was a different story. A 24-9 run in the third quarter blew things open for Miami, which hadn't played in eight days after sweeping Charlotte in the opening round.
"It was great that we were able to come out the way we did after being off for eight days," James said. "We got a lot of work in. We had eight days of not playing a basketball game but Spo got us in the gym. We made each other accountable throughout the layoff and we proved it tonight."
Deron Williams and Joe Johnson scored 17 points each for the Nets, who got only eight points from Paul Pierce and none from Kevin Garnett in 16 minutes.
Game 2 of the best-of-seven series is on Thursday night.
"This is the defending champs," Nets coach Jason Kidd said. "It's always going to be at a high level and we've got to find a way to match it."
James finished 10 for 15 from the field and Allen-who had never faced his former Boston "Big 3" teammates Pierce and Garnett in the playoffs-was 4 of 7 from 3-point land.
"He was focused on the job at hand," James said of his teammate.
Miami's lead was 55-52 early in the third quarter after a 3-pointer by Williams, and every indication was that the Heat and Nets-who played three one-point games and a double-overtime affair in the regular season-were heading down to the wire again.
The Heat took off on the 24-9 run over a 7-minute span, with Bosh scoring the first seven points to get Miami going. Allen's 3-pointer pushed the lead to 14, James and Chris Andersen (who left in the fourth with a right knee contusion) added two free throws apiece and just like that, Miami's lead swelled to 79-61.
"It's fun when you win the game and you can at least for a night do whatever it is you do, have some dinner, chill at home and exhale a little bit," Bosh said. "When you lose, you can't sleep, your stomach hurts and it's not a very good situation."
WIZARDS CAST THEIR SPELL ON LADY GAGA
Lady Gaga is no match for the NBA's playoff schedule.
The Washington Wizards announced on Tuesday that the Grammy winner's May 15 concert at the Verizon Center has been moved up to May 12 because it conflicted with a possible Game 6 in the club's Eastern Conference playoff series against the Indiana Pacers.
The conflict has caused much consternation among Gaga fans who had planned months ahead to travel to Washington on a specific date, but the NBA's television commitments held sway.
Wizards and Verizon Center owner Ted Leonsis blogged his "sincere apology" for inconveniencing the singer's fans.
(China Daily 05/08/2014 page23)