Brooklyn Nets reduce Miami’s series lead to 2-1
Joe Johnson scored 19 points to help host Brooklyn beat the Miami Heat 104-90 in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series. The Nets cut Miami’s lead to 2-1.
The Associated Press
NEW YORK – Joe Johnson scored 19 points, Andray Blatche had career playoff highs of 15 points and 10 rebounds, and the Brooklyn Nets handed the Miami Heat its first loss this postseason, 104-90 on Saturday night in Game 3 of the best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinals.
Paul Pierce scored 14 points, Deron Williams and Kevin Garnett bounced back from awful offensive efforts, and the Nets withstood LeBron James’ 16-point first quarter and held him to two baskets over the final three quarters.
Brooklyn, which swept Miami in four regular-season games, can tie the playoff series with a victory at home Monday in Game 4.
“We’re not scared of them,” Pierce said.
James scored 28 points for the two-time defending champion Heat, which hadn’t even faced a fourth-quarter deficit in these playoffs before having its eight-game winning streak in the postseason snapped. It was Miami’s first loss since Game 5 of last year’s NBA Finals.
Mirza Teletovic and Shaun Livingston each scored 12 points for the Nets in their first home postseason victory against the Heat. Teletovic made four of Brooklyn’s 15 three-pointers.
Williams, 0 for 9 in Game 2, shot a mere 3 for 11 but finished with nine points and 11 assists. Garnett, 2 for 10 for four total points in Miami, shot 5 of 6 for 10 points and grabbed seven rebounds.
Dwyane Wade scored 20 points for Miami and James grabbed eight rebounds, but his night fell well short of what it could have been after his dazzling first quarter.
James made a free throw to reduce Brooklyn’s lead to 59-56 in the third quarter, but Teletovic made a three-pointer, followed by baskets by Blatche, Johnson and Livingston to make the score 68-56. Teletovic made two more threes and Williams knocked down another before the end of the quarter, which ended with the Nets ahead 77-63.
“To sum it up, they outplayed us,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “They outplayed us, particularly in that whole second half.”
Spurs take 3-0 lead
PORTLAND – Tony Parker scored 29 points and the San Antonio Spurs pulled into a commanding 3-0 lead in their Western Conference semifinal series against Portland with a 118-103 victory over the Trail Blazers.
The top-seeded Spurs led by as many as 23 points in the first half, building a big early lead just as they had in the first two games of the series in San Antonio. The teams meet again Monday at the Moda Center.
LaMarcus Aldridge had 21 points and 12 rebounds for Portland, which cut San Antonio’s lead to eight points in the third quarter but couldn’t get closer.
The Blazers were without reserve guard Mo Williams, who has a groin injury. Portland’s bench scored six points, compared with 40 points for San Antonio’s reserves.
In the last two games, the Spurs have a 90-25 advantage in bench scoring.
• Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are back to their old selves after getting thrashed by 17 points to open their West semifinal series against Los Angeles.
The Clippers can live with their numbers — Durant topping 30 points in two straight games and Westbrook just missing another triple-double; it’s the rest of the Thunder they want to stop.
“We got to come right back at them,” said Clippers forward Blake Griffin, looking ahead to Game 4 on Sunday in Los Angeles.
Oklahoma City leads the series 2-1.