Monday, May 21, 2018
Sports

Rested Heat pounds Nets

MIAMI — Turns out, the Heat can beat the Nets.

And rest hardly led to rust for the two-time defending champions.

LeBron James scored 22, Ray Allen added 19 and the Heat stayed perfect in this postseason by beating the Nets 107-86 on Tuesday night in Game 1 of an Eastern Conference semifinal series. It was the first win for Miami in five meetings with Brooklyn this season.

"It's one," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "But I liked the energy, the activity."

Chris Bosh had 15 points and 11 rebounds, Dwyane Wade finished with 14 and Mario Chalmers had 12 for Miami, which recorded at least one regular-season win against every team except Brooklyn, losing four times by a total of 12 points.

This one was a different story. A 24-9 run in the third quarter blew things open for the Heat, which hadn't played in eight days after sweeping Charlotte in the opening round.

"It was great that we were able to come out the way we did after being off eight days," James said.

"We got a lot of work in. We had eight days off of not playing a basketball game but (Spoelstra) got us in the gym. (We) got each other in the gym. We made each other accountable throughout the layoff and it proved tonight."

Deron Williams and Joe Johnson scored 17 each for the Nets, who got only eight from Paul Pierce and no points from Kevin Garnett in 16 minutes.

Game 2 of the best-of-seven series is Thursday night.

James finished 10 for 15 from the field and Allen was 4 of 7 on 3-pointers.

"He was focused on the job at hand," James said.

Miami's lead was 55-52 early in the third quarter after a 3-pointer by Williams, and every indication was that the Heat and Nets — who played three one-point games and a double-overtime affair in the regular season — were heading down to the wire again.

Not quite.

The Heat took off on the 24-9 run over a 7-minute span, with Bosh scoring the first seven points of that burst to get Miami going. Allen's 3-pointer pushed the lead to 14, James and Chris Andersen (who left in the fourth with a right knee contusion) added two free throws apiece and just like that Miami's lead was up to 79-61.

For Brooklyn, it was a collapse at an unexpected time. The Nets had the best third-quarter scoring differential in the East after Jan. 1, but were outscored 33-23 in that pivotal quarter in Game 1.

Heat 107, Nets 86

BROOKLYN (86): Johnson 7-11 0-0 17, Pierce 3-8 0-0 8, Garnett 0-2 0-0 0, Williams 7-10 0-0 17, Livingston 4-9 1-2 9, Blatche 1-4 2-2 4, Anderson 2-7 2-3 6, Kirilenko 1-2 3-4 5, Plumlee 1-3 0-0 2, Thornton 5-9 0-0 11, Teletovic 2-5 0-2 5, Gutierrez 0-0 2-4 2. Totals 33-70 10-17 86.

MIAMI (107): James 10-15 2-2 22, Battier 3-5 0-0 8, Bosh 5-11 4-5 15, Chalmers 5-9 2-2 12, Wade 7-13 0-0 14, Andersen 2-3 3-4 7, Allen 6-10 3-3 19, Cole 2-3 0-0 6, Lewis 0-2 0-0 0, Haslem 1-1 0-0 2, Douglas 0-0 0-0 0, Jones 0-1 0-0 0, Beasley 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 42-74 14-16 107.

Brooklyn 20 23 23 20— 86

Miami 22 24 33 28— 107

3-Point GoalsBrooklyn 10-24 (Williams 3-5, Johnson 3-6, Pierce 2-4, Teletovic 1-3, Thornton 1-3, Anderson 0-3), Miami 9-23 (Allen 4-7, Cole 2-3, Battier 2-4, Bosh 1-4, Jones 0-1, Chalmers 0-2, Lewis 0-2). Fouled OutNone. ReboundsBrooklyn 36 (Pierce 6), Miami 42 (Bosh 11). AssistsBrooklyn 11 (Livingston, Williams 3), Miami 22 (Wade 5). Total FoulsBrooklyn 18, Miami 17. TechnicalsBrooklyn defensive three second. A19,470 (19,600).

Late Monday

Chris Paul made a career-high eight 3-pointers and scored 32 to help the visiting Clippers beat the Thunder 122-105 in Game 1 of their Western Conference semifinal. Paul, who had never made more than five 3-pointers in a game, had 10 assists. Russell Westbrook scored 29 for the Thunder, which suffered its worst home loss since moving to Oklahoma City.

Durant named MVP

Thunder All-Star Kevin Durant won his first league MVP award, receiving 119 first-place votes. Miami's LeBron James, who had won the last two MVP awards and four of the previous five, finished second with six first-place votes, and Blake Griffin of the Clippers was third.

"Everything in my life, I had to take it," Durant said. "They're not going to give it to you out of sympathy. I wouldn't want it any other way. This was another case, if I wanted to win the MVP, I had to go take it. I felt that this was the year I did that."

Durant won his fourth scoring crown in five years by averaging 32 points. The 6-9 forward helped the Thunder go 59-23, second-best in the league, despite playing much of the season without Westbrook because of a nagging knee injury.

Durant's run of 41 consecutive games this season with at least 25 points was the third-longest streak in league history.

"It was a two-man race, and then toward the end, it was kind of a no-brainer," Griffin said.

Warriors fire Jackson

The Warriors fired Mark Jackson as coach after three seasons, ending the franchise's most successful coaching tenure in the past two decades but also one filled with drama and distractions.

"Obviously it was not made exclusively on wins and losses," Warriors owner Joe Lacob said.

General manager Bob Myers said the decision to dismiss Jackson was "unanimous" among the team's executives. Lacob and Myers said their coaching search would begin immediately.

Reports of rifts within the team surfaced this season and Jackson dismissed two assistants Brian Scalabrine and Darren Erman in a 12-day span before the playoffs.

After guaranteeing a playoff appearance, the Warriors were 23-36 in Jackson's first season. The Warriors went 47-35 last season and advanced to the second round of the playoffs, and were 51-31 this season before losing in seven games to the Clippers in the first round.

Jackson told the Contra Costa Times that he was "respectful'' of the team's decision.

"But to me, now the pressure's on for them to get a championship. It's not the time for them to be patient any more. This is a championship-caliber team,'' Jackson said.

Clippers exec taking leave of absence

Clippers president Andy Roeser is taking an indefinite leave of absence while the league restructures the franchise in the wake of owner Donald Sterling's lifetime ban.

The league announced plans last week to appoint a CEO to oversee the franchise in Sterling's absence.

Commissioner Adam Silver banned Sterling for life, fined him $2.5 million and urged owners to force him to sell the Clippers a week ago, responding to league-wide outrage over racist comments made by the 80-year-old real-estate mogul.

Sterling is the league's longest-tenured owner after buying the Clippers in 1981. Roeser is one of the league's longest-tenured executives, having just completed his 30th season with the team.

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