Miami wins series 4-1
|Game 1: Tuesday, May 6th|
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|Game 2: Thursday, May 8th|
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|Game 3: Saturday, May 10th|
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|Game 4: Monday, May 12th|
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|Game 5: Wednesday, May 14th|
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7:00 PM ET, May 6, 2014
AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami, FL
And rest hardly led to rust for the two-time defending NBA champions.
LeBron James scored 22 points, Ray Allen added 19 and the Heat stayed perfect in this postseason by beating the Nets 107-86 on Tuesday night in Game 1 of an Eastern Conference semifinal series. It was the first win for Miami in five meetings with Brooklyn this season.
More From Game 1
Despite a weeklong layoff, it was an energized and jovial LeBron James and the Heat who didn't miss a beat in their blowout of Brooklyn, Israel Gutierrez writes. Dime
"It's 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 the Heat, who 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 eight days," James said. "We got a lot of work in. We had eight days off of not playing a basketball game but Spo got us in the gym. (We) got each other in the gym. We made each other accountable throughout the layoff and it proved tonight."
Game 2 of the best-of-seven series is 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" compatriots Pierce and Garnett in the playoffs -- was 4-of-7 from 3-point land.
"He was focused on the job at hand," James said.
Dominating Down Low
The Heat outscored the Nets 52-28 in the paint Tuesday, their most paint points scored against the Nets this season. LeBron James had scored as many points in the paint (10) in the first half as the entire Nets team.
Heat Points in Paint vs. Nets
|Pt diff PG||+3.5||+24|
|* Four games|
--ESPN Stats & Information
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 of that burst 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 was up 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."
For Brooklyn, the trouble came at an unexpected time. The Nets had the best third-quarter scoring differential in the East after Jan. 1, but were outscored 33-23 in that pivotal quarter in Game 1.
It was a hectic news day long before Heat-Nets, with Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant being announced as the league's MVP, the firing of Golden State coach Mark Jackson and the NBA saying that Los Angeles Clippers president Andy Roeser would be taking an indefinite leave as part of the fallout related to the Donald Sterling scandal.
James' two-year reign as MVP lasted 198 games.
"We have a new MVP, but when you talk about the best players in the world, he's 1A, 1B with Durant," Kidd said.
Pregame lineup moves by both clubs lent more intrigue. Miami brought Shane Battier -- who played 2 minutes, total, in the first round against Charlotte -- back into the starting five, while Brooklyn reinserted Shaun Livingston into its lineup after using him off the bench late in the Toronto series.
After never leading by more than seven points against Brooklyn in the regular season, the Heat led by 11 after a drive by James with 3:32 left in the first half. But the Nets closed on a 14-6 run, and Williams' first beat-the-clock 3-pointer of the game sent Brooklyn into halftime down 46-43.
Williams did it again in the third, but that one only got Brooklyn within 79-66.
"It came down to defense tonight," Williams said. "Our defensive game plan was not executed at all."
The Heat held a pregame moment of silence for Hall of Famer Jack Ramsay, who died last week at the age of 89. ... David Beckham, who will be bringing an MLS team to Miami, sat next to the Heat bench. ... Livingston was on the court to warm up for the second half with about 10 minutes left in the intermission. Small problem: The rack of basketballs wasn't on the court yet. ... The Nets are 1-9 all-time against Miami in playoff games. ... Miami had not won consecutive Game 1s since the 2nd and 3rd rounds of the 2012 playoffs.
MIAMI, FL - MAY 6: Shaun Livingston #14 of the Brooklyn Nets looks on against the Miami Heat in Game One of the...(Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Around The Association
MVP: Kevin Durant may be the MVP, but much like Shaq in the early to mid-2000s, LeBron James is the most dominant. LeBron scored 22 points on 10-for-15 shooting, grabbed five boards and made three assists as Miami crushed the Nets in the second half.
X factor: Maybe the highest-paid X factor in the league, Chris Bosh blitzes pick-and-rolls on defense and stretches the floor on offense with his ability to knock down 3-pointers. In Game 1, he hit only one 3-pointer but scored 15 points and pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds.
Defining moment: Throwing his weight around like few perimeter players in the league have ever been able to do, James backed down Brooklyn's Shaun Livingston and missed an attempt at the rim but had no problem grabbing his own rebound and scoring. The basket was part of an 18-5 third-quarter run and underlined the physical dominance Miami has in this series.
From Elias: The Miami Heat won Game 1 vs the Nets by 21 points. Teams that win by as many as 20 points in Game 1, win 81% of best-of-7 series. Nearly half (46%) of the series end after 5 games.[+]
Teams to Win 1st Game of Best-of-7 Series by 20+ Points
Heat outscored the Nets 52-to-28 in the paint Tuesday, their most paint points scored against the Nets this season. LeBron James had scored as many points in the paint (10) in the first half as the whole Nets team.[+]
Heat Points in the Paint vs Nets, This Season
LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh combined to hold the Nets to 33% shooting when guarding their man. Nets shot 48.8% when guarded by any other Heat.[+]
Nets Scoring by Defender, Game 1 vs Heat
Kevin Garnett didn't score in Tuesday's loss at the Heat. It was the 1st time that he failed to score in 139 career playoff games.
From Elias: Brooklyn is 1st team to lose by 20 or more points to a team after sweeping series of at least 3 games during regular season.
LeBron James joined Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant Tuesday as the only players in NBA postseason history with at least 4,000 points, 900 rebounds, 900 assists. However, James was the fastest to achieve that milestone, doing it in just 9 postseason appearances.[+]
In the four regular season matchups against the Nets, the Heat averaged 51.6% effective field goal percentage; Heat's highest effective field goal percentage was 55.2%.[+]
Four Factors Analysis
From Elias: There have been 25 instances in which a team was swept 4-0 or worse in the regular season and then went on to face that opponent in a best-of-7 series in the postseason. The team that swept the regular-season series went on to win all 25 of those postseason meetings.
The Heat went 0-4 against the Nets in the regular season, but if they don't seem too concerned, it's because they've been in similar situations before. This will be Miami's 4th playoff meeting in the James-Wade-Bosh era against a team it lost 3 or more times to in the regular season. The Heat won each of the 3 previous series.[+]
Heat Most Losses vs Team in Regular Season - Met in Playoffs
From Elias: LeBron James, currently 8th on the all-time playoff scoring list, is just 9 points shy of hitting the 4,000 point mark. He'd be the youngest player in NBA history to hit that number.[+]
Paul Pierce didn't guard LeBron James much this season. In the first meeting between the two teams in the regular season, LeBron went 2 of 7 with 4 points and 3 turnovers when guarded by Pierce. James would face Pierce on only five plays the next three games. Pierce was one of five Nets players to guard James for at least 10 plays this season. Joe Johnson, Shaun Livingston, Andrei Kirilenko and Alan Anderson were the others.[+]
ESPN Stats & Information