The Brooklyn Nets were down just two points to the Miami Heat with seven minutes to play, but the Nets fell apart defensively down the stretch and were eventually beaten 94-82. Deron Williams finished with 0 points on 0-for-9 and the Nets fell behind 0-2 in the series.
It was 79-77 when Marcus Thornton hit a layup with seven minutes left. That started a 10-2 run. The Nets missed six times from the floor and the Heat hit three 3-pointers over those final seven minutes. Ray Allen hit two of those threes. He finished 3-for-5 from behind the arc and had 13 points with eight rebounds. On on possession, the Nets defense allowed three consecutive offensive rebounds.
“That was a killer,” Joe Johnson said of that final stretch of three offensive boards. “We couldn’t come up with the rebound. It was almost as if we didn’t have the energy or the effort down the stretch. We fought so hard to stay within reach and those last few possessions really killed us.”
“It hurt us, especially we were down and we needed every possession,” Pierce said. “It’s very hard when you play defense and give up three rebounds in a row. ”
The Nets showed big improvement from the blowout in Game 1 to a Game 2 that was winnable until there were three minutes left. It’s easy to think that they could have won this game if they had gotten anything at all from D-Will. He finished with no points on nine shots and he never got to the free throw line. He finished with six assists, but showed a real lack of aggressiveness all night.
“I thought he had some great looks and some were around the rim,” Jason Kidd said. “But I thought that he set the tone, he attacked and got the ball in the paint. He had seven rebounds and six assists. We look for him to bounce back in Game 3, but overall I thought he was good.”
The biggest reason why the Nets were in this game until late was Mirza Teletovic. Teletovic finished with a team-high 20 points and set a Nets playoff record for the most threes in a game with six. Four of those threes and 12 of those points came in the second quarter when the Nets otherwise could have easily been blown out by the Heat, who scored 30 that quarter.
Shaun Livingston was really the only other player to have a good game. He finished with 15 on 6-for-9 shooting. Kevin Garnett was strong defensive, and got 12 rebounds in just 20 minutes, but he was real bad offensive and shot 2-for-8 from the floor. Joe Johnson and Paul Pierce weren’t a lot better than D-Will. They each had 13 points and neither were especially aggressive for any sustained amount of time.
Without enough help behind Teletovic, the Nets eventually fell behind. The Heat were just too relentless as LeBron James led them with 22 points, Chris Bosh had 18 points, Dwyane Wade had 14, Ray Allen 13 and Mario Chalmers had 11.
One positive you can take from the game is that the Nets nearly matched the Heat in the paint, 34-32. That was a huge problem in Game 1. They also beat them 43-36 on the glass, but the Heat’s strength has never been in rebounding. 14 turnovers, and only eight from the Heat, were a big problem.
The Nets now fall behind 0-2 in the series. They’re road games so it’s not the worst thing in the world. The fact that they’re the two-time champs and LeBron is LeBron makes it hard to resist despair, but it’s still technically a series. The only chance they have left seems to be if they can sweep the three games in Brooklyn.
“We just have to protect our home now,” Pierce said. “We have to figure out what we did wrong late in this game nd try to clear that up. We saw some positive things tonight in Game 2 rather than Game 1. The only thing we can do now is try to get two at home.”