NBA: LeBron Ties Career-High, Nail Biting Fourth
The Miami Heat entered Monday night’s game with a 2-1 series lead, and lead the Nets three games to one in the Eastern Conference semifinals after a 102-96 victory. It was the closest game of the series with a back-and-forth fourth quarter and Chris Bosh three-pointer.
In this series, Paul Pierce insisted on covering LeBron James and it proved to be a difficult task. The Nets franchise allowed an opponent, James, the greatest amount of points in its playoff history.
James led the Heat with a total of 49 points on the night, tying his playoff career-high. He earned 12 points in the first quarter, 13 in the second, 15 in the third and the remaining nine in the fourth with five personal fouls. James shot 16 of 24 from the field and 14 of 19 from the line, missing his final free throw of the game with seconds left to fall short of a new career-high.
Entering halftime, this game contained the highest scoring first half in the series with a 56-49 Miami lead, Lebron James with 25 of those points. There were no Nets players with double digits by halftime but each player contributed to the score, and Brooklyn was two of eight from behind the arc.
The game saw most of its intensity in the forth quarter. There were lead changes flying left and right, as the game seemed to grow closer by the minute. The Heat led 79-76 going into the fourth.
With a little less than eleven minutes to go Brooklyn saw its first lead since the second quarter. At the 10:20 mark they put themselves up by another shot, leading the Heat 82-79. A Miami three-pointer gave them an 89-87 lead, which was then taken back by the Nets, and once again returned to the Heat who took a 92-90 lead with minutes to go.
Both teams had trouble scoring in the fourth, but a three-pointer would give Miami the lead it needed to win the game. It was tied at 94 with 1:15 to go in the game. There were four Heat turnovers in the fourth and one Nets turnover, but Brooklyn wasn’t able to capitalize.
With 57 seconds remaining, Bosh sunk a three-pointer to put the Heat ahead by three, and the Nets would not manage to come back from its deficit. The biggest lead seen by either team in the fourth would be had by Miami, leading 99-94.
The two time defending champs have not seen a back-to-back playoff loss since 2012, and they continue to prevent ongoing losses. The two teams will head back to Miami on Wednesday to play game five of the series, Brooklyn trailing by two games.