It was the game that everyone knew was eventually coming- the Lebron game. Monday night was a quick reminder that it’s Lebron’s world and the rest of us are just living in it as he tied a career Playoff best with 49 points. It was clear from the tip that he was not going to allow the Nets to steal another game and tie the series heading back to Miami. He was finishing hard at the rim while playing lockdown defense the entire contest. Great players have great games, it’s that simple. James was due for one of these performances in this year’s Playoffs and Game Four had all of the makings for an offensive explosion for the former MVP. The potential monster game that was looming was a huge factor heading into this game and the King reigned supreme.
The Nets were in last night’s game throughout and the lead was traded back and forth during the 4th quarter. But James was merely too much for Brooklyn to handle down the stretch. The Nets had five different players in double figures but untimely turnovers and poor shot selection in the final two minutes ultimately led to defeat. The team effort that was so instrumental in the Game Three win was starting to appear midway through the 3rd quarter and carried over well into the final period. For moments, it seemed that Brooklyn was going to pull away and tie up the series. But the Heat showed why they are the back-to-back defending champions when they were able to get two consecutive stops that were followed by clutch buckets on the other end.
Pierce was putting the team on his shoulders during the 4th quarter and was trying to will the team to victory, only to have Johnson miss two contested jumpers during a pivotal point in the game with less than two minutes left. Johnson is known as one of the most clutch players in the league so normally going to him pays off in a win. But I’m sure that Kidd and a lot of Brooklyn fans would’ve preferred Pierce to get a look, after having so many clutch scoring plays during the 4th quarter. In the end, it is what it is and second guessing a team’s decisions won’t tie up the series.
In retrospect, Game Three was probably too good to be true and feels like a dream after last night’s loss. The Nets simply couldn’t expect that type of performance two games in a row- let alone two games against the Heat. The bench play of Brooklyn was also not able to live up to the way they played in Game Three. The hot shooting Teletovic was unable to get going last night and didn’t make a single shot from long distance. Andray Blatche was probably looking for his shot too much as he was just 4-10 from the floor. Kidd elected to not even play Marcus Thornton last night as Livingston and Alan Anderson were able to keep the offense flowing. We could sit here all day and point fingers for what exactly went wrong last night but sometimes a team is outplayed. In this case, it wasn’t one team outplaying the other but rather one player outplaying an entire team.
Lebron was a man among boys last night and there wasn’t much Brooklyn could do about it. Paul Pierce asked to be the man to guard James for extended periods of time during this series. And well, you ask and you shall receive. History isn’t in Brooklyn’s favor as they will need three huge wins to move onto the Eastern Conference Finals. But Pierce and Garnett have been here before, so don’t throw dirt on the grave quite yet. The Nets will need to rid their memories of last night’s game and focus on Game Five in Miami, where it is do or die for the boys in black and white.