Ask and ye shall receive.
After Game 1, Paul Pierce asked coach Jason Kidd for the assignment to guard Lebron James; due to his experience guarding him and knowing Lebron’s tendencies. Pierce then added more fuel to the fire saying Miami are beatable. While that may be true, and Brooklyn did prove it with a Game 3 victory, his words may have riled up a passive Lebron James.
Lebron hasn’t had a breakout game in this series, until now. He exploded for 49 points, which ties his playoff career-high, and led the Miami Heat to a 102-96 victory over the Brooklyn Nets. The Heat lead the series 3-1, and they will be looking to end the series, next game, in Miami.
No team led by double-digits, and there were nine lead changes. Both teams were tied six times throughout the game.
At the half, Miami led 56-49 behind Lebron’s 25 points. To start the 3rd, Dwayne Wade made a midrange jumper to give Miami their largest lead of the game, 58-49. Later, Brooklyn went on a 8-0 run to cut the lead to two -- Deron Williams finished a 3-point play, followed by a Pierce 3-pointer and a Kevin Garnett basket.
The Nets couldn’t overtake the Heat in the quarter and trailed 79-76 going into the fourth.
Lebron carried Miami on his back for three quarters, scoring more than half of the team’s points -- 40 out of Miami’s 79 points -- but in the 4th, it was the others that pushed Miami to victory.
Pierce slammed it home with 11 minutes remaining to give the Nets a 80-79 lead, their first lead since the 2nd quarter. With 4:24 remaining, Pierce had a 3-point play that put the Nets up by one, 90-89. Afterwards, the Nets could only make one more FG for the rest of the game.
Kevin Garnett made two free throws to tie the game at 94, then with under a minute to go, Chris Bosh made a corner three to give Miami a 97-94 lead. On the play, Lebron drew defenders into the middle of the lane and provided the hockey assist to Mario Chalmers, who found Bosh open in the corner.
Joe Johnson tried to draw a sixth foul on Lebron James as he was going up for the floater, but Lebron fell to the ground and Johnson’s floater fell short.
Ray Allen nailed four free throws late, and Lebron had a chance at 50 points, but he missed his last free throw with only a second left on the clock.
It’s either win or go home for the Brooklyn Nets. They’re going to have to bring the heat in Miami if they’re to stay alive.
Key Stats: Joe Johnson led the Nets with 18 points. Paul Pierce had 16 points and 7 rebounds. Deron Williams had 13 points, 7 assists, and 6 rebounds. Shaun Livingston scored 13 points. Alan Anderson scored 10 points off the bench.
Lebron James led the Heat with 49 points -- 16 of 24 shooting, 14 of 19 from the free throw line -- and 6 rebounds. Dwayne Wade scored 15 points. Chris Bosh had 12 points and 5 rebounds. Ray Allen had 11 points and 7 rebounds off the bench.
Key Notes: Lebron has now scored more points, in a game, than any player in Miami Heat postseason history -- breaking Wade’s record of 46 points, in 2010, against the Boston Celtics. Lebron previously dropped 49 in the playoffs, in 2009, against the Orlando Magic while playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers.