LeBron James scored 49 points as the Brooklyn Nets lost to the Miami Heat 102-96 at the Barclays Center on Monday night. They will now head to Miami for Game 5 down 3-1 in the series.
“This was very difficult to swallow, it’s hard to take, but that’s what it is,” Kevin Garnett said. “One guy can obviously score a lot of points and he is hurting you. We just kind of locked in on one guy and he hurt us. Shoulda, coulda, woulda’s won’t help us at this point.”
“He was going; a lot of his shots were in the paint and we tried to keep him out of the paint,” Jason Kidd said of James. “It’s a little bit harder when you talk about it because he’s not gonna settle. Tonight he didn’t settle. He put pressure on our defense. That being said, 49 points, we still had a chance to win.”
The Nets did indeed have a chance to win. They were tied with the Heat at 94-94 with 2:30 left to play. Unfortunately, they couldn’t connect on offense down the stretch which caused them to lose the game. Chris Bosh hit a big three to go up 97-94 with 57.3 seconds left and Joe Johnson came back down and missed a 14-foot jump shot and that mostly ended things.
After the game, Johnson said that LeBron, who was guarding him on the play, flopped and that it threw him off and caused him to shoot an air-ball.
“I wasn’t necessarily trying to draw a foul on him, but I thought he was aggressive so I was trying to use that aggressiveness against him. He flopped that last one,” Johnson said. When asked if the flop threw him off, Johnson replied, “Yeah, it did. I should have known they weren’t going to call a foul.”
The Nets did a lot of things well in this game. They out-rebounded the Heat 40-34, they got a series-high 23 second chance points, they only turned the ball over 10 times, they got to the line more than they have against the Heat and hit 23-of-28 shots. Unfortunately, they let LeBron dominate them and he kept the Nets from winning this game.
LeBron finished with 49. He had 12 in the first quarter, 13 in the second, had 15 in the third and nine in the fourth. A missed free throw at the end of the game was the only thing that kept him from scoring 50. He shot 16-for-24 from the line and it made up for the fact that the rest of the team shot just 21-for-46. He was a big reason why the Heat had 42 points in the paint.
“It’s very disappointing,” Johnson said. “We let one get away on our home floor. Not only that, but I thought the points in the paint was the biggest difference. We didn’t allow that in Game 3. In Game 4 we gave up way too many easy baskets. LeBron shot 19 free throws, we put him on the line too many times, but we still had a chance to win. We just didn’t get it done.”
Johnson led the Nets with 18 points, Paul Pierce had 16 and seven rebounds, Deron Williams and Shaun Livingston had 13 each and Alan Anderson had 10 from off the bench. Behind LeBron, Dwyane Wade had 15 points, Chris Bosh had 12 and Ray Allen had 11.
The Nets are technically still alive, but against the two-time defending champions it’s hard to see them coming back or even making a series out of this. They head to Miami on Wednesday, where they looked completely over-matched in games one and two. If they can somehow survive that, they are back in Brooklyn on Friday, but even with a win in that game, they still would then head back to Miami again on Sunday. Seeing them win two in Miami is almost out of the question.
“The only thing we talked about is taking it one game at a time,” Johnson said. “Obviously the series is no tover, but have to play with urgency in Miami and come out with a win.”