Nets 82 – Heat 94 (Miami leads series 2-0)
It was a two-point game midway through the fourth quarter of an ugly game. Sensing the danger of losing home court advantage, Miami knocked down threes on consecutive possessions to break the game open. The Heat took an eight-point lead and didn’t look back.
The Heat worked the clock, won every 50-50 ball, and had a possession that lasted 100 seconds. In that possession alone, the Heat snared three offensive rebounds before finding LeBron James under the hoop for an easy layup. Talk about deflating a defense.
The Heat allowed one bucket in the final 6:53, and closed the game out to perfection.
As Brooklyn completely fell apart at the end. Joe Johnson, Deron Williams, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett had a combined five points in the fourth quarter. Williams, amazingly, went 0-9 for a doughnut on the night. It wasn’t pretty, and it showed in the frustrated looks on their faces as the final minutes slowly faded off the clock.
Jesus Shuttlesworth was again an assassin. He dropped 13 points in the second half alone and coupled that with 8 rebounds. Mario Chalmers hit a couple dagger treys in the final six minutes. Dwyane Wade (14, 7 and 7) and Chris Bosh (18, 9, 3 blocks) both had solid games. And of course, James couldn’t be stopped with 22 points.
Counter to the strong finish, the Heat started the game slowly. Miami went scoreless for the game’s first 3:32, and that set the tone for serious offensive struggles. Until the final six minutes, Brooklyn was all the way in the game. The Nets just didn’t take care of the opportunity.
Miami got hot at just the right time, ruining an otherwise heroic night from Mirza Teletovic, who came off the bench to drop a Nets’ playoff record 6 three-pointers. Sorry, Mirza—your team’s stars didn’t show up.—Ryne Nelson
Spurs 114 – Blazers 97 (San Antonio leads series 2-0)
A subject sure to come up when talking the San Antonio Spurs is efficiency—for serious, this team is hella efficient, year after year. Timmy D. & Co. do not go away.
Take some specific examples from last night’s Game 2 against the Portland Trail Blazers alone.
Kawhi Leonard shot 100 percent from behind the arc, 4-4. He was 8-9 overall and finished with 20 points, 12 of those coming in the first quarter. He was one of the seven Spurs who put up double figures, and the team as a whole shot 53 percent from the field. That’s pretty efficient.
Tony Parker and Tiago Splitter both finished with double-doubles. The point guard had 16 points and 10 assists, and the center contributed 10 points and 10 boards. That’s efficient too.
Anyone who knows anything about the Spurs knows this efficiency is a recurring trend. In Game 1, San Antonio’s reserves scored 27 first half points. In Game 2, they did the exact same thing—27 first half points. The Spurs’ bench outscored Portland’s 50-19 for the game.
The Trail Blazers showed some efficiency of their own at the line, going for a perfect 100 percent on 10-10 shooting. But they lacked in other areas. LaMarcus Aldridge, while finishing with a respectable 16 points and 10 boards, only shot 6-23 from the floor. Damian Lillard scored a nifty buzzer beater to end the first quarter and bring the Blazers within three, but that was before the Spurs’ 23-6 run to start the second. Lillard shot 8-20 on the night for 20 points.
Anytime the Blazers made a run, the Spurs quickly responded with a run of their own. In only four and a half minutes, they turned a one point lead into an 18 point lead, racking up points on 12 straight possessions. All this resulted in a 41-25 burning of the Blazers in the second quarter and a 19-point halftime lead.
The third quarter looked slightly up for the Blazers, with Wesley Matthews putting up 10 points. Portland then opened the fourth with a 10-3 run, but the Spurs maintained its trend with a 13-2 run in response. As Tony Parker said after the game, his team did its job by securing two solid wins on their home court.
So now, things shift to Portland, where these two teams will play Game 3 on Saturday night. It isn’t tough to see what each wants. The Spurs, a solid and efficient win on the road. The Blazers, a needed win in front of their home crowd to turn this match-up into a series. And oh yeah, a snake-free locker room for both, please.—Habeeba Husain