The Brooklyn Nets may have swept the Miami Heat in the regular season by winning four games, however throw out the numbers when the best 16 teams step on the NBA hardwood for the playoffs. That was evident in Tuesday night’s Game 1 Eastern Conference semifinal matchup between the Nets and Heat. The Heat threw the first punch with the 107-86 win.
Miami was well rested after a first-round series sweep of the Charlotte Bobcats and there were no signs of rust. It was another day in the office for four-time MVP LeBron James who led all scorers with 22 points along with five rebounds and three assists. Ray Allen had something in his cup before the game, scoring 19 points in 26 minutes off the bench to give the Heat their first win in five meetings against the Nets this season. “I’m built for the long run,” Allen stated. The Heat outscored the Nets 52-to-28 in the paint Tuesday, their most paint points scored against Brooklyn this season.
The Nets’ Deron Williams knocked down a three-pointer to end the first half and take a three-point deficit to the locker room at the half. At the start of the third the Nets could not slow down the Heat’s 16-9 run with 6:30 remaining in the third, Jason Kidd called a timeout to bandage his squad. Miami outscored Brooklyn 33-23 in the third. The Heat shot a little less than 60 percent for the game. “Yeah, it’s high. 60 percent, trying to stop the champs, that’s hard,” Kevin Garnett stated. Garnett finished with zero points and four rebounds in 16 minutes of play. It was the first time that he failed to score in 139 career playoff games.
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 and 900 assists. However, James was the fastest to achieve that milestone, doing it in just nine postseason appearances. “We have 15 guys who are ready to play now; throughout the regular season it was frustrating with guys in and out of the lineup. I am all about team chemistry and during the regular season it was tough to get that. When it matters most we are playing our best basketball,” James stated. The Miami Heat won Game 1 by 21 points. Teams that win by as many as 20 points in Game 1 win 81 percent of best-of-7 series.
The Heat held a pregame moment of silence for Hall of Fame coach Jack Ramsay, who died last week at the age of 89. The Nets are 1-9 all-time against Miami in playoff games. Miami had not won consecutive Game 1s since the 2012 Eastern Conference Semifinals and Finals. Game 2 will be Thursday night.