MIAMI -The Brooklyn Nets came to the Sunshine State looking to get a split in the first two games of their Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Miami Heat. They didn’t.
Instead they got a lot of burn in their belly, not on their skin. It’s a fire that comes from the gut.
After a 94-82 loss in Game 2 in AmericanAirlines Arena, the Nets head back to Brooklyn angry with themselves for failing to do the little things, and falling behind 0-2.
Trailing 87-79 with 3:07 left, the Nets failed to secure the defensive rebound – three straight times. The Heat grabbed three offensive boards, running another minute and eight seconds off the clock, before LeBron James scored on a layup with 1:59 left for an 89-79 lead.
“That one hurt,’’ said coach Jason Kidd. “Again, we were right there. We gave ourselves, on the road, an opportunity against the world champs. We let the game slip away.’’
When the teams meet Saturday night (8:00pm; TNT) in Game 3 at Barclays Center, the Nets know they must clean up the little things, as well as the big ones, to get back in the series.
After getting bullied in the paint 52-28 in the 107-86 loss in Game 1, the Nets held their own, getting edged 34-32 inside. And the Nets won the boards, 43-36, but those three straight offensive rebounds by the Heat were killers.
“This series is not over,’’ declared Joe Johnson, who had 13 points.
The Nets got 20 points from Mirza Teletovic, who set a franchise playoff record with six three-pointers. He led five Nets in double figures. James had a game-high 22 to lead Miami, which also placed five players in double figures.
The Nets were right there with 6:54 left after a Marcus Thornton layup brought them to within 79-77, but again failed to do the little things.
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra called a timeout and the two-time NBA champions responded like champs, putting on an 8-0 spurt to pull away.
Point guard Deron Williams struggled, missing all nine of his shots, although he did have seven rebounds and six assists. Kevin Garnett, who went scoreless in Game 1, bounced back with a game-high 12 rebounds, four points, three assists and three steals.
“We’re a veteran team,’’ Garnett said earlier in the day. “We understand what’s at stake here."