It’s over. It’s all over for the Brooklyn Nets. The Heat pulled off a miraculous comeback and held on to win by a mere two points. It was another heartbreaking loss for Nets fans everywhere as they lost a late lead yet again. Losing close games became a reoccurring theme during this series for Brooklyn and Wednesday night was no different. The Nets put forth the complete team effort that was necessary to compete with the defending champions, but in the end they were no match.
Brooklyn was firing on all cylinders to start the game and took an early 11-4 lead on Miami. They were moving the ball with ease and seemed to have a clear game plan for how to control the flow of the game. Dwyane Wade was definitely looking for his shot early and was the only Heat player that was able to put the ball in the basket. Wade racked up a quick 12 points in the first period before coming out after a collision in the paint. Brooklyn was able to keep the pace of the game in their favor, as well as holding Lebron in check.
The 2nd quarter began with Brooklyn’s second unit providing a boat-load of energy and they were able to take the lead, despite Wade still pouring it in on the offensive end. Kidd went with Kirilenko for an extended length of time guarding Lebron and the Russian was running around like a mad man on defense. The last part of the period was controlled by the Nets after 13 lead changes and 7 ties in the first 20 minutes of play. Deron Williams and company were able to take it to Miami and extended their lead to 7 going into halftime. The Heat were a mess offensively, besides Wade, and were looking for answers. They were 1-16 on three point shots in the first half, which is all that you need to know in order to understand the 7 point deficit.
The back to back defending champions showed their true colors out of the break as they came back to tie the game with a quick run. Luckily, the Nets were able to compose themselves and not get flustered by the hot start by Miami. The 3rd period was completely owned by Joe Johnson as he really started to heat up from everywhere on the floor. He was answering every Heat shot with a bucket of his own and helped the Nets pull away towards the end of the quarter. The lead ballooned to 9 by the end of the 3rd after a clutch tip-in by Johnson, giving him 12 big points in the 3rd quarter alone. The life seemed to be sucked out of the American Airlines Arena heading into the final period and it was clear that is was Brooklyn’s game to lose.
The 4th quarter began with a flurry by Miami that cut the lead down to 3 points. At this point, all Nets fans started to squirm a little bit knowing how this story ends. The next couple of minutes were watched with one eye open, unable to watch what could be coming. But Johnson wouldn’t allow it to happen again, or so we thought for the moment. Joe Cool was in complete control and was scoring at will on James or any other Miami defender. He was in a zone and the Nets took their lead to 9 after a 7-0 run that included a Pierce three point crowd silencer. Everything was going right for Brooklyn and we seemed to be headed to another game on Friday. This all was until the last 4 plus minutes of play…
The Nets went cold and were unable to keep the momentum going, leaving the door wide open for another Heat comeback. Wade was able to get a big bucket, and then Johnson was unable to convert on a highly contested shot against James. Lebron came down the floor and was able to get a call that sent him to the line, where he knocked down both shots to cut the lead to 1. Cut to 43 seconds left, Heat possession out of a timeout and the ball gets around to Ray Allen. Well, Jesus Shuttlesworth did it again.
The best three pointer shooter in league history took the lead to 2 for Miami. Livingston was then able to get off a runner in the lane but it wouldn’t fall. The Heat took their lead to 4 after a 12-0 run. But then a glimmer of hope appeared in a Johnson three point make from the corner. The lead was only one! Lebron was sent to the line and was only able to hit one of two free throws. Brooklyn down 2, could it be? Could the Nets change the pattern and take the champions back to Brooklyn? They definitely had their opportunity. The ball went to Johnson, who scored a game-high 34, but he was unable to get a shot off as Lebron and Allen played all over the ball. Game Over. Miami Heat 96 Brooklyn Nets 94.
A wild, up and down season has come to an end. It is fitting that it ends this way but sad all in itself. It was a great effort by the Nets but it just was not meant to be. Welcome to the offseason Brooklyn fans. There’s always next year, right?