Once again the Heat were just a little too much for the visiting Brooklyn Nets, as Miami took a 2-0 lead in their second round series. A close game throughout, the Nets were within two midway through the 4th quarter. The deciding sequence came after a timeout, when the just inserted Mario Chalmers made a three pointer, which was followed by two Nets misses and then a Ray Allen three, and all of a sudden the Heat were up eight, and the game was effectively over.
It was a relatively quiet night for LeBron James, who had 22 to go along with four boards and two assists, but he played smart throughout and made several big plays to keep the Heat rolling. Chris Bosh added 18 and Ray Allen came off the bench for 13.
The Nets struggled to get anyone going consistently other then Mizra Teletovic, who made six threes and finished with 20 points. The rest of the squad struggled to make shots, however, especially in the 2nd half, when they were held to 36 points. Most glaringly, Deron Williams was held scoreless and missed all nine of his field goal attempts.
The Nets clearly have a problem in this series, which is they aren't as good as the Heat. Not much they can do about that between now and Saturday, but they need to try to figure something out as the series shifts to Brooklyn for games three and four.
It happened a little later then in the first game when San Antonio scored the first eight points and were never really challenged, but eventually it happened. This time the run came at the start of the 2nd quarter, and was led by the bench, specifically Boris Diaw, Manu Ginobili, and Marco Belinelli. The Spurs stretched out to a double digit lead as they scored 41 points in the quarter and 70 in the half to go in up 17 at the break.
It was too much for Portland to overcome even as the Spurs went cold in the 2nd half. The Blazers were able to get within 8, but ultimately could not get there as the Spurs held them off in the fourth with some timely baskets. LaMarcus Aldridge struggled from the field, going 6-22, and the Blazers run was fueled by Nicolas Batum (21 points) and Damian Lillard (19).
Kawhi Leonard led the Spurs early and had 20 on 8-9 from the field. He was actually benched for a longish stretch after a made three that Pop didn't like.
One of the obvious differences between these teams is their respective benches. The Spurs once again got huge production from their reserves, with Diaw and Belinelli combining to go 9-11 from the field. The Blazers just don't have much off their bench; Will Barton was their best contributor for the 2nd game in a row, this time going 4-4 for 9 points.
Game three is in Portland on Saturday.
Pacers at Wizards
7:00 pm Central
Big game in this series as it's even at one game apiece. The Wizards made their threes and won game one, missed them and lost game two. Roy Hibbert woke up in a big way in game two for the Pacers, scoring 28 points, which provided the Pacers enough offense to hang on in game two; we'll see if he can put together two games in a row. Still waiting for a big Paul George game, and on the other side, John Wall needs to be better then 2-13 from the floor for the Wizards. This could be a long and interesting series.
Thunder at Clippers
9:30 pm Central
Each team took a turn being dominant offensively, the Clippers in the first game with Chris Paul and all their shooters, the Thunder in the 2nd with their fearsome duo of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. The series shifts to L.A., amid rumblings that Shelly Sterling wants to keep "her" half of the Clippers. More distraction is not what the Clippers need, but we've seen their talent just overwhelm opponents at times. This is a fun series. I hope I can stay awake.
- Jamal Crawford was named 6th man of the year for the 2nd time in his career. Without thinking about it too much, I think I would have gone with Taj Gibson.
- The Sterling strategy is clarifying: even if Donald is forced to sell, they are trying to hang on to at least half the team through Shelly. They would have to divorce (and thus she gets half of the marital property) for this to work, I think. There is going to be a lot of agita with this process, hopefully the league doesn't lose it's momentum.
- George Karl said on the radio that he is interested in getting back to coaching, though apparently he has not been contacted by any of the teams with openings so far.
1689: William III declares war on France
1887: Bill Cody's Wild West show opens in London
1936: Italy takes Addis Ababa
1945: Czechoslovakia liberated from Nazis
1960: Birth control pills legalized in U.S.
1974: House hearings on Nixon impeachment begin
1977: Patty Hearst released from jail