Nets need to keep Heat out of the paint

By John Schuhmann, NBA.com


VIDEO: Nets-Heat: Game 4 Preview

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – The Brooklyn Nets got one. They need one more.

If the the conference semifinals series between the Nets and Miami Heat is to get interesting, the Nets need to follow up their Game 3 win with another in Game 4 on Monday (8 p.m. ET, TNT).

But they can’t count on hitting 15 3-pointers again. Though the Nets did a good job of finding open spots against the Miami defense on Saturday, only once this season have they shot 50 percent from 3-point range in two straight games, and that was against two bottom-five defenses (Detroit and Philadelphia).

The Nets can still make the most of their offensive possessions by pushing the ball up the floor and making quick passes against Miami’s overloading D. And they can give themselves a real chance to win by continuing to keep LeBron James out of the paint.

Early on Saturday, James looked like he was going to have a huge game. He had 16 points on 6-for-7 shooting in the first quarter, tearing through the Nets for layups on three fast breaks and draining three of his four jumpers.

But Brooklyn made sure there were more jumpers than layups after that. James got to the basket only one time in the final three quarters, and that was when the Nets had a 19-point lead midway through the fourth quarter.

After attempting 29 shots in the restricted area in Game 1, the Heat attempted just 18 in Game 2. In Game 3, they got just 13, a number that matched their season low and ranked as the third fewest they’ve ever had in their 74 postseason games since James arrived in 2010.

The Heat won all of the other four games in which they failed to get to the basket at least 15 times, mostly because James shot well from outside the paint. See Game 6 vs. Boston in 2012 or Game 7 vs. San Antonio last year.

But if you’re the opponent, choosing layups vs. jumpers is an easy decision. James is the best finisher in the game and you just have to take your chances with him on the perimeter. So the Nets will continue to show James multiple bodies, when he has the ball on the perimeter …

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… or in the post …

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“I think we’re doing a better job with our help defense,” Paul Pierce said Sunday of the Heat’s declining attempts at the rim. “We did a better job of helping one another on the drives and getting back on defense and limiting them in these opportunities.”

James is a willing passer and the attention on him will get his teammates some open looks. But they’d be more open if James got into the paint first.

He can get there more often if the Heat execute better offensively and keep moving.

“They pack the paint, they’re able to switch out, they’re able to contain a lot of our ball-handlers,” James said Sunday. “It flattens our offense out a lot. We haven’t had the assist rate that we want in this series so far. We have to do a better job of screening, getting guys open, and moving ourselves more than the ball.”

The Nets had a big offensive game on Saturday, but their scoring was tied to their defense. As they built that 19-point lead, they were holding the Heat to just 11 points over a stretch of 17 possessions spanning the third and fourth quarters. More stops mean more early-offense opportunities for Brooklyn.

The Heat haven’t lost two straight playoff games since the 2012 conference finals. But the Brooklyn defense has been much better at home in these playoffs (allowing 99.7 points per 100 possessions) than it has been on the road (112.8).

Another win in Game 4 will put some pressure on the champs.

20 Comments

  1. Juan says:

    I’m wandering why Paul didn’t spoke to the media after game 4 lost to the heat. Are you scare now? Lol

  2. Game Ball says:

    @NBA Fan – nets in 6 or 7??? after that game 4 beating still hoping to knock off the HEAT???? The Brokelame nets need as much us 9 games to even the series and that’s not gonna happen…. nets win game 3 now they are contenders??? NEWS FLASH they are down 1-3 on MIAMI…. If you are really an NBA FAN you know what NBA HISTORY is… NO Team in NBA wins the series when they are down 3-1… EVER….

  3. NBA Fan says:

    Heat is one-man show…This year I don’t think lucky will be in their side. There is too much gap between Heat’s talents and other teams including Brooklyn Nets…I think Nets will win the series. I know many fans are waiting to watch Indiana vs Heat, which for sure Indiana has upper hand. But watch this Eastern semifinals Heat vs Nets, Nets win 6 or 7.

  4. lakers says:

    Miami huge tonight…Nets go down 1-3….over…Pacers Heat …..i had Miami vs Washington in work pool…oh well

  5. mikmaks says:

    just one loss and a lot of stupid comments appear… just like last year.

  6. Juan says:

    Paul pierce not scared of the Miami heat? Yet to see that in game 4. Miami wins the series whether Paul is scared or not

  7. Big Al says:

    With that softie Bosh taking too many threes rather than drive to the basket like he should, it won’t be too hard to keep the Heat out of the paint. The Big 2 try to pick up that slack, but of course, they can’t do it on their own. They have yet to win in Brooklyn this season, but a 14-point loss seems discouraging. It will be a disservice to basketball if they ultimately lose this series (which is still possible). The West will eat the East alive when Miami folds.

  8. No Panic says:

    Its funny how the defending Champs loose their first game in the playoffs & now every heat hater, every Lebron hater, every one is throwing in the towel. They are going into panic mode. Lol, you all sure know your basketball. I thought this was the same Heat team going for there 4 Final trip. I personally think they have seen it all in there 3 trips to the Finals. A lot of game 7’s, including game 7 in the Finals. Different strategies, different line ups, rough play, injuries, etc… The only difference this years, is that they have played a lot of basketball, possibly fatigue, something the Nets have to worry about being an aging team. Come on! don’t hate, just wait. The Heat need a few loses in the playoff to get themselves more focus, more hungrier more ready for whats to come.
    Go heat… in 5 0r 6

  9. Lendon B Johnson says:

    The east won the all-star game and that was an upset! The east can win the finals too @wizardsin7. Stagnant isn’t a good word to describe heat on Saturday but a good phrase is 15 3pt FG a good word would be bench productivity that has been the difference in the three games thus far.

  10. Max says:

    NEVER RUSH A FREE THROW SHOT. MAKE THE SAME MOVES EACH TIME AND SHOOT SOFTLY JUST OVER THE CENTER OF FRONT RIM. NO HURRY, FREE THROWS CAN MAKE A WIN. LAC MADE 9 IN THE FOURTH QTR. ON SUNDAY AND HOW MANY POINT DID LAC WIN BY???? THEY ARE FREE, JUST LEARN TO CONTROL ARMS AND MAKE SAME SHOT OVER AND OVER AND NEVER RUSH. ALWAYS DROP FREE THROWS OVER CENTER OF FRONT RIM! BREATHE THEN ARCH AND DROP BALL SOFTLY JUST OVER THE CENTER OF THE FRONT RIM. PRACTICE SAME MOVE EACH TIME AND YOU WILL SEE YOUR FT AVG. CLIMB. FREE THROWS WIN OR LOSE BB GAMES!!
    EVEN D. HOWARD HAS FINALLY IMPROVED! SO CAN ANDRE. DO WHAT I SAY AND YOU WILL SEE YOUR FT AVG. CLIMB!!

  11. Max says:

    LAC MUST DEFEND THE OFFENSIVE PAINT. CK TAPE, LEFT NO LAC TO GRAB REBOUND UNDER THE OFFENSIVE GOAL. ALL BLUE, CK TAPE. STOP WESTBROOK DRIVE THROUGH THE MIDDLE, HE CAN BE STOPPED FORCE HIM TO JACK UP 3’S ALL WILL NOT FALL!!!! LAC MUST CONTROL REBOUNDS,BE SET WHEN THE SHOT IS FIRST RELEASED, THEN NO OVER BACK LOOSE FOULS RIGHT? GOT TO USE CONTROL WHEN SHOOTING FREE THROWS. SAME MOVE OVER AND OVER AND YES YOU WILL IMPROVE.LOOK AT THE CENTER OF FRONT RIM, THEN A SMALL ARCH ON BALL DROP OVER CENTER FRONT RIM AND DROP SOFTLY! practice THIS OVER AND OVER WILL BUILD YOUR SELF CONFIDENCE! CK HOW BLAKE HAS IMPROVED. CONTROL TAKE TIME ON FT.BREATHE LEARN TO MAKE SAME RELEASE UNTIL YOU WILL SEE JUST HOW EASY IT IS TO MAKE MOST IF NOT ALL FTS.! BLAKE & COLLISON MADE 8 FT’S THAT HELP BRING IN THE WIN IN THE 4TH QTR. CP ONLY MISSED ONE. CP AND NOW BLAKE HAVE CONFIDENCE, SHOCKED IF FT DOES NOT GO IN. ANDRE CAN DO THE SAME THING PRACTICE OVER&OVER. REMEMBER SOFTLY OVER THE CENTER OF THE FRONT RIM!!LET BALL DROP NEVER SHOOT HARD ON A FREE THROW! iT MUST DROP SOFTLY JUST OVER THE CENTER OF FRONT RIM.

  12. Brink21 says:

    Let’s go NETS!!

  13. Max says:

    FREE THROWS WIN OR LOSE BASKETBALL GAMES! LOOK WHO WINS,SEE HOW MANY MISSED FREE THROWS!!!!

  14. JOSNETS says:

    The Nets are getting under the Heat’s skin and are finding ways they can slow them down. Expect the Nets to match the Heat aggressive play. LeBron cannot do it all alone, while the Nets have multiple weapons that the Heat can’t match. Nets tied up the series tonight.

  15. nba says:

    go nets! beat the heat!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  16. thespectator says:

    expect miami to be ultra aggressive and attack the rim, miami is perfect after a loss in the playoffs…this is a championship team, they know whats up ….id be strongly surprised if they lose this game…

  17. Wizardsin7 says:

    I’m having serious doubts about Miami making it past Indiana, who’ve suddenly snapped back into shape while Wade and every Heat player not named Lebron look stagnant. Still pretty sure the West will win the Finals.

    • UNTALENTED TEAMS PLAYS DIRTY AND TAKE CHEAT SHOTS LIKE THE WARRIORS AND BULLS says:

      JUST LIKE HOW THE WEST ATE UP THE HEAT LAST YEAR…GOOD ONE