Midway through the fourth quarter of a somewhat disjointed Game 2 in the Miami Heat's second-round series against the Brooklyn Nets, the two-time defending champions held a slim two-point lead. Erik Spoelstra called a timeout, and Mario Chalmers nailed a corner 3 on Miami's ensuing possession. On the other end of the court, Kevin Garnett missed a two-foot baby hook that would have easily been a dunk if Garnett had his legs from just two years ago. And then sixteen seconds later, Ray Allen found himself wide open in the same spot Chalmers just was in and drained a 3.
The Heat rode a dominant fourth quarter to go up 2-0 in the team's series against the team that swept Miami in the regular season. After those two 3s, the Heat subsequently grabbed three offensive boards on one possession, eating up 1:40 of the clock before Dwyane Wade and LeBron James ran a pick-and-roll to get the four-time MVP an easy layup. Miami is now in a great, great position, with a commanding series lead heading into Brooklyn.
Both teams played unevenly for much of the first three quarters; the game started with four consecutive turnovers, and Miami did not score until 3:33 had ticked off the game clock. But Allen subbed in for Wade with about four minutes left in the third and proceeded to score 10 points before the fourth quarter started. Allen came in when Miami faced a three-point deficit. But he made a 3 with three minutes left in the third to give Miami a lead it never relinquished. And on top of the 13 points, the 6-foot-5 guard grabbed a team-high eight rebounds.
Allen's contributions were even more timely considering Wade's struggles early on. Wade let Shaun Livingston take him off the dribble to open the game and looked awfully passive offensively. He let the frustrations get to his head a bit and committed a frustration foul on Mason Plumlee in the third after he lost a rebound. But thankfully, Wade came around to start the fourth. With James resting, Wade scored six points in the first three minutes and six seconds of the final frame. His first shot of the fourth came after backing down Mirza Teletovic in the post before rising for a hook shot in the paint. He finally made decisive moves offensively and was more alert and active defensively in the clutch. He finished with 14 points on six-of-six shooting from the foul line, seven rebounds and seven assists.
James led the Heat with 22 points on 9-of-18 shooting from the field. Like Wade, he also struggled in the first half. Chris Bosh stood as the Heat's best player from start-to-finish, shooting 7-of-13 from the field for 18 points. He had one particularly good second-quarter sequence in which he blocked a Marcus Thornton layup attempt on one end and sunk a 3 on the other. Moreover, Bosh crushed a Deron Williams layup attempt in the closing seconds of what was a scoreless night for the All-Star point guard. Williams went zero-for-nine from the field, and Bosh's matchup, Garnett, followed up his scoreless Game 1 performance with 2-for-8 shooting in Game 2, including a couple other point-blank misses. The only player who really stood out for Brooklyn was Teletovic, who made five 3s in the first half.
The Heat also received contributions from Mario Chalmers, who scored 11 points and made two 3s, and Rashard Lewis. Lewis made two triples in the first half -- including one from 33 feet out as the shot clock expired -- to keep Miami in the game while James and Wade struggled.
Game 3 is Saturday at 8 p.m.