The Brooklyn Nets made this a series, defeating the Miami Heat at home on Saturday night in Brooklyn. The Heat still lead the series 2 games to 1. The Nets shot an unbelievable 15-25 (60%) from 3 tonight while they held Miami to just 8-24 from behind the arc. They also outrebounded Miami 43-27. Joe Johnson was Brooklyn’s leading scorer with 19 points, but the bench was really the MVP of this game. Lebron James scored 28 for Miami, but only 12 after the first quarter.
This was a must-win game for the Nets and they got it done in wonderful fashion. It was close in the first half, but the Nets showed why they were one of the best home teams in the second of the season in putting away Miami in the third and fourth quarters. Even with this win, if they lose game 4 at home, I think the series will still be over, but they remain alive now.
Player grades and notes:
Paul Pierce: B+
Pierce got off to a pretty good start in the first quarter offensively, although Lebron James was hitting shots from everywhere against him defensively. In the third, Pierce got into foul trouble and the Nets made a major run with him on the bench. He came back in in the fourth quarter to hit a 4-point play which gave the Nets their biggest lead of the night at 20.
Kevin Garnett: A-
Garnett had a surprisingly effective game tonight, even at the offensive end where he shot 5-6. Defensively, he held Chris Bosh to just 12 points and he also had 7 rebounds. Good bounceback game for KG.
Deron Williams: B-
Deron Williams still struggled mightily with his shot in game 3, but at least he did some other things better. He finished with 11 assists in the game and almost all of them were to open 3-point shooters, so at least his vision is still good enough. I’m still not convinced he’s back yet.
Shaun Livingston: A-
Livingston had a momentum swinging 3-pointer at the buzzer of the first quarter, only his second 3-point make in the last 2 seasons combined. But that was far from all he did. He had a pair of nice dunks in the second half including one dagger to put the Nets up by 14 with about 2 minutes remaining. He is more dangerous offensively than Deron Williams right now.
Joe Johnson: A
I would have liked to see Joe get into the paint a little bit more, but if he’s shooting 3′s like he did tonight, good for him. He was extremely efficient, shooting 5-7 from 3 and 7-10 from the floor for 19 points. He still has not been able to draw fouls like he was able to in the Toronto series though and I’m not sure if he can have a shooting performance like this again.
Mirza Teletovic: A
Mirza was very key in the second half tonight, hitting all 4 of his 3′s after halftime. Even though his shots from behind the arc were only worth 3 each, it seemed like they were sometimes worth 4 or 5 because of the impact they had. He also guarded Lebron for 7 or 8 minutes straight in the third quarter and did an excellent job somehow.
Andray Blatche: A
Finally a Nets center showed up. Blatche was no question the best player in the first half where he scored 13 of his 15 points. He was also the teams leading rebounder tonight and he had 10 of them, including 4 on the offensive side. This was the Blatche game we were all waiting for.
Andrei Kirilenko: A-
Kirilenko didn’t put up great numbers tonight, but he did so many awesome things to help the Nets win this game. It is baffling that he did not play a second in game 2.
The Nets now need to win game 4 at home to even the series at 2-2. Game 4 will be on Monday night and FRWD will have full coverage.