The Nets were alive coming into this Game Four battle at home against the Miami Heat. In Saturday night's matchup, the Nets shot lights out from three point range, which eventually led them to a 104-90 victory. It was up to the guys in black and white to tie this series up and head back to Miami with a 2-2 series tie.
But, it didn't happen. There's a guy named LeBron James on the other team and he's pretty good.
James was an absolute wrecking machine. The Nets had zero answers for his 49 point performance, and went on to lose, 102-96. They had their chances late in the game, but missed opportunities ultimately haunted them. The series is now 3-1 heading into Miami this Wednesday where the Nets will fight for their last life.
After the game, the two teams were still jarring at each other with Joe Johnson telling the NBA press conference that James had flopped on Johnson's last shot, distracting him.
The emotions were extremely high early. Four technical fouls were assessed within the first seven minutes of the first quarter. The Nets, led by Paul Pierce, were making it known they weren't going to back down.
The Nets didn't get the exact start they were looking for, but it could've been much worse. Deron Williams & Paul Pierce both nabbed two early fouls and were forced to check out earlier than usual. The Heat shot 55% from the field, and LeBron James was cooking early with 12 points on 4-7 shooting. James had a determined look in his eye.
Meanwhile, the Nets shot 60% in the quarter based off of a balanced attack containing six different players with at least one field goal. Still, they struggled to find any real offensive rhythm. The Heat led 27-22 after a very chippy first quarter.
Deron Williams checked into the game to start the second quarter and made an immediate impact. He scored five quick points and dished an assist to a cutting Andrei Kirilenko that gave the Nets the lead. Williams picked up his third foul in the midst of all this, but Jason Kidd trusted his point guard to not pick up a fourth foul.
The same can be said for LeBron James. When he checked in, the pace and control of this game shifted 180 degrees. James finished the half leading all scorers with 25 points, 13 of them coming in the second quarter. He was 9-13 from the field and 6-8 from the free throw stripe.
The Heat as a team were getting what ever shots they wanted. They shot 63% from the field, compared to the Nets' 49%. After shooting 15-25 from three in Game Three, the Nets were just 2-8 in the first half. They were very reluctant to be down just seven at half.
The score at the half: Heat 56, Nets 49.
The Heat continued to be the aggressor early in the third quarter, but a 10-2 run from the Nets had them right back in this game, down one with five minutes remaining in the quarter. The only thing that was keeping the Heat afloat was 12 straight points from LeBron James. He was having a field day on the Nets' defense, especially in the paint.
A key moment in the third quarter -- The Nets were down one with possession and the shot clock winding down, Deron Williams passed up a shot and turned the ball over, right to LeBron James who was then fouled on a clear path foul from Alan Anderson. What could've been the Nets first lead of the second half, turned into a three point Heat lead. The Nets were fortunate that the Heat failed to convert on their offensive possession following the free throws.
The Heat led 79-76 heading into the fourth quarter. 15 of the Heat's 23 points in the quarter came from LeBron James. The Nets may've wanted to do something, you know, about James and his 40 points.
Jason Kidd was having no part of LeBron scoring 50. He put Andrei Kirilenko on James to start the fourth in hopes to keep the superstar forward out of the paint. After a Paul Pierce dunk that got the Brooklyn crowd off their feet - which was then followed up by a Deron Williams layup, the Nets owned a three point lead, their first since the second quarter.
With the game continuing at a back and forth pace, the Heat went over the foul limit with four minutes remaining. It was very crucial for the Nets to shoot free throws the rest of the way.
The score was 94-94 with two minutes remaining. LeBron James had 48 points, but five fouls. This game would come down to the absolute end.
The Nets just could not execute down the stretch. The Heat were giving them chances to take the lead, but a Chris Bosh three pointer put the Heat up three. On the other end, the Nets failed to scored for their fourth straight possession. It was over four minutes the Nets had failed to convert on a field goal.
They finished the night 5-22 from three (23%) compared to their 15-25 effort (60%) in Game Three.
With 30 seconds and running, the Heat wasted the entire shot clock and missed a contested shot, but an offensive rebound from Dwyane Wade pretty much put this game out of reach for the Nets. Free throws converted by Ray Allen sealed the deal.
LeBron James scored 49 points to propel this victory for the Heat. The Nets had absolutely no answers for 'The King', and the credit is due to him. He put on a show in Brooklyn.
The Nets will fight for their last life this Wednesday night in Miami.
Final Score: 102-96.
Series count: Heat 3, Nets 1.
For more on the Miami Heat, check them out at Hot Hot Hoops.
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- NEW YORK: Shane Battier sparks Miami Heat’s defense against three-pointer - Steve Braid - Miami Herald
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- Ira Winderman on Miami Heat at Brooklyn Nets - Ira Winterman - South Florida Sun-Sentinel
- Miami Heat: LeBron James carries Heat to Game 4 win - Dave Hyde - South Florida Sun-Sentinel
- Nets guard Shaun Livingston thankful for Heat providing second chance - Shandel Richardson - South Florida Sun-Sentinel
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- Paul Pierce goes down like the Truth, but LeBron is greater than attitude - Matt Moore - CBS Sports
LeBron James scores 49 points, ties career playoff high in Game 4 win - Eric Freeman - Yahoo! Sports