With a minute and 15 seconds in the pivotal Game 4 of the Miami Heat's second-round series against the Brooklyn Nets, Erik Spoelstra called a timeout. Miami's previous possession featured very little ball movement and resulted in a deep Chris Bosh attempt from beyond the arc with the shot clock expiring. The game was tied at 94, and the next couple possessions determined whether the Heat would go back home up 3-1 or facing a knotted series.
The Heat went to the same play it used at the end of its 140-second possession in Game 2 of this series -- the Dwyane Wade/LeBron James pick-and-roll. After James caught the ball in the paint, he gave the ball to Mario Chalmers, who found Bosh open in the corner. After missing his previous two attempts from 3, Bosh rose up without hesitation and nailed the clutch shot.
On the Nets' subsequent possession, James -- playing with five fouls -- kept Joe Johnson on his hip before the highest-paid player on the court launched an errant floater. Miami held on for a 102-96 win that gives the two-time defending champions a chance to close out the series and advance to the conference finals Wednesday night.
James was upset with himself at the end of the game; he missed a free throw in the closing seconds, keeping him at 49 points for the night. But the four-time MVP did it all for Miami right from the jump, registering everything from breakaway dunks to deep 3s. Reminiscent of his 45-point outburst in Boston two years ago, he exploited Paul Pierce every time down the court, finishing the night shooting 16-of-24 from the field, 3-of-6 from downtown and 14-of-19 from the line to go with six rebounds and three steals. He even took 70 percent of Miami's free throw attempts and played the entire second half.
Bosh did not score his first points until midway through the second quarter, but made two huge 3s in the final six minutes of the quarter. He finished with 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting, and all but three of his field goal attempts came from beyond the arc. I would have liked to have seen a few more mid-range and inside shots from Bosh, but he did come up with three blocks, including one against Shaun Livingston that bailed out Wade for committing a live-ball turnover.
Speaking of Wade, the man played well for the first three quarters, but tried too much dribbling in the fourth period. He ended up committing a few turnovers that made the final moments harder than they needed to be. He again had difficulty defending Livingston a few times, but did shoot 7-of-13 from the floor to finish with 15 points, four rebounds and three assists. Ray Allen contributed 11 points and seven rebounds -- in Game 1, the 6-foot-5 guard grabbed eight boards. And Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole were two sides of the same coin tonight; Miami was +22 in Chalmers' minutes, but -19 in Cole's playing time. When Chalmers picked up his fifth foul early in the fourth, Spoelstra went for the forward James Jones instead of Cole. Although Jones didn't make a shot, his presence created driving lanes for James. He should definitely move ahead of Rashard Lewis in the rotation.