2014 NBA Playoffs Conference semis: Spurs take 3-0 lead, Heat lose first game of playoffs
It was time to change arenas in the remaining Conference Semifinals series of the Playoffs as the second set of Game 3s were played Saturday night.
Here’s a recap:
(2) Miami Heat vs (6) Brooklyn Nets (Brooklyn won 104-90, Miami leads series 2-1)
The Miami Heat lost their first game of this season’s Playoffs as Brooklyn shot hot from long distance draining a Playoff franchise record 15 3-pointers in the game and rallied behind Joe Johnson’s team high 19 points (5 of 7 from 3-point land) to register a convincing win at home, their first in the Conference semis.
All Nets starters except Deron Williams (9 points and a game high 11 assists), who just missed out on a double-double, were in double figure points with Paul Pierce led the way behind Johnson with 14 and guard Shaun Livingston had 12. Kevin Garnett had 10 points and 7 rebounds as the Nets’ bench, regarded among the best in the league, came out to play scoring 40 points led by Andre Blatche who had a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds and Mirza Teletovic who had 12 points.
Meanwhile for the Heat, after asserting their team balance in the first two games of the series, Game 3 saw no players other than the Big 3 finish in double figure points. LeBron James had 28 points of which 16 came in the first quarter, making it the highest output in a single quarter in the post-season so far, along with 8 rebounds and 5 assists, while Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh scored 20 and 12 respectively.
One of the Heat’s biggest weaknesses was showcased in Brooklyn last night as they got hammered on the boards by the Nets 43-27. However, the third quarter was the turning point of the game, as the Heat were outscored by 14 and at one point in the fourth trailed by as many as 20. James agreed:
“Third quarter was the deciding factor for us. We scored 14 points and allowed them to get whatever they wanted.”
- LeBron James
Things got a little chippy as Allen Anderson and Ray Allen got into an argument after being entangled during a play, both were awarded technicals. The Nets play another game at home on Monday and would want to win that in order to head back to South Beach all tied up.
The Nets’ 3-point shooting Playoff record:
(1) San Antonio Spurs vs (5) Portland Trailblazers (San Antonio won 118-103, leads series 3-0)
Tim Duncan moved past Karl Malone into fifth place on the list for all-time career Playoff points on a night when the Spurs cruised to victory with a margin of 15 or more for the third consecutive game in the series to take a commanding series lead over the Trail Blazers.
The Spurs were pushed to seven games by the Dallas Mavericks in the first round, but now certainly seem to have found their championship rhythm back. Their starters and bench players have consistently been good in this series on both ends of the floor, making them a huge favorite to head back to the NBA Finals after a disappointing end to last season.
The Spurs have not given the offense-dependent Blazers a single chance to seize control in this series as they have led for all but 33 seconds in the 144 minutes of game time played so far. The Blazers have been no match for the Spurs’ system of offense and defense and have been completely outplayed in the series. They would have to do something incredible to push the series to five or even six games, but the more probable result is the Spurs looking to sweep the series on the road.
Tony Parker’s play was crucial and dominant as he scored 29 points and 6 assists on 12-20 shooting from the field. He was the spark behind the Spurs offense again, just like he has been so many times. Parker has been unstoppable hitting three’s, open shots of pick-and-roll and tough drives to the hoops. Kawhi Leonard had a double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds, Duncan had 19 points while Ginobili had 14.
The strength for the Blazers all through this season has been in their starters in terms of personnel and offense in terms of style of play. Both seem to be struggling at this point with their All-Stars LaMarcus Aldridge (21 points and 12 rebounds) and Damian Lillard (21 points and 9 assists) struggling to knock down shots, shooting a combined 16 of 44 (36%), and the starters as a whole, battling fatigue after the high minutes throughout the season, are finding it tough to get the job the done down the stretch late in games.
Parker’s contribution in Game 3:
A slightly unknown name Nets guard Shaun Livingston leads the top plays of the day