Miami wins series 4-1
|Game 1: Tuesday, May 6th|
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|Game 2: Thursday, May 8th|
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|Game 3: Saturday, May 10th|
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|Game 4: Monday, May 12th|
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|Game 5: Wednesday, May 14th|
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7:00 PM ET, May 14, 2014
AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami, FL
MIAMI (AP) -- The Miami Heat are a game away from a fourth straight trip to the Eastern Conference finals.
And it's like they haven't even noticed.
Almost from the moment Game 4 of this East second-round series against the Brooklyn Nets ended, the moment where the Heat took complete control of the matchup by riding the strength of LeBron James' 49-point night in a 102-96 victory, all the attention was directed toward what the two-time defending NBA champions figure to be their biggest challenge yet.
The test: Game 5 on Wednesday, when the Nets' season will be at stake.
"This team is not going to give us the game," Heat guard Dwyane Wade cautioned, minutes after his team took a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series. "This series is far from over."
That's exactly the mindset Heat coach Erik Spoelstra wants his team to have. Recent history, though, would suggest that Miami is on the brink of advancing.
Since James, Wade and Chris Bosh became teammates, the Heat are 8-0 in home games that could end a series. Two of those wins came against Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett when they were wearing Boston green.
"It's Game 5. We understand what's at stake," Nets coach Jason Kidd said. "It's Game 7 for us from here on out. If we lose, it's over. If we win, we fight another day. We can only focus on Game 5 and one quarter at a time."
The task is daunting, without question. For Brooklyn to prevail, it needs to beat the Heat three times in five days, two of those games in Miami, and do so with James coming off a scoring show that matched the best of his postseason career. He made 16 of 24 shots in Game 4, carrying Miami for much of the night.
Brooklyn guard Joe Johnson said after the game that James flopped. Even that didn't get a reaction out of the four-time NBA MVP, who seems as businesslike as ever.
"Win," James said when asked what the Game 5 mentality will be for Miami. "It's the mentality we go into every postseason game. Play with a sense of urgency defensively, help one another, communicate, try to get the ball moving offensively, get it moving from one side to another and attack. If we do those things, if we do it with a clear mind but at the same time an aggressive mind, we give ourselves a good chance to win."
He was disappointed Monday night after missing a free throw that would have given him 50 points.
That's forgotten now. To James, the only number that matters is four -- the win that would send Miami back to the NBA's Final Four.
"The wise one knows that you don't go into it thinking `This is it," Heat guard Ray Allen said. "You have to still build on all your habits. You have to go out there and you have to get better. If this is a closeout game, then we don't want to just settle for how we played. We want to get better and think about where we can potentially go."
Brooklyn has won in Miami twice this season, both part of the Nets' 4-0 regular-season sweep of the Heat.
But in this series, the MVP has been the difference.
James alone is averaging 30.3 points through four games. Johnson and Pierce, Brooklyn's top two scorers so far in the series, are combining to average 29.5.
"To win the whole series, you need to win on the road anyway," Brooklyn forward Andrei Kirilenko said. "It's going to be a huge challenge for us but the series is not over yet, so we are going to fight."
Miami would expect nothing less.
That's why Spoelstra told -- ordered would be a more accurate term -- his team to take Tuesday off and rest. Coaches were at the arena in Miami studying film; no new material was made available to players, underscoring the decree from Spoelstra that players come in Wednesday ready for the toughest game yet.
"We wouldn't expect anything else," Spoelstra said. "It's a veteran team. It's not the first time they've been in a situation like this. Both teams know what's at stake. It's great competition. You have to embrace it. We'll have to earn it."
Team Stat Leaders
LeBron James is averaging 30.1 points and has an effective field goal percentage of 62.3 this postseason. That would be the highest effective field goal percentage in a single postseason in NBA history by a player that averaged 30+ PPG (min. 300 minutes played). Entering this postseason, there were 51 instances of a player averaging 30+ PPG in a single postseason while playing at least 300 minutes.[+]
LeBron James Postseason Career with Heat
Through 8 games, LeBron James has posted a player efficiency rating of 33.4, a mark that would be the 3rd-highest all-time in a single postseason among players that logged at least 300 minutes. James holds the all-time mark of 37.4 set back in 2009 and George Mikan sits in second on that list with a PER of 33.6 in 1954. Michael Jordan's highest PER in a single postseason was 32.0 back in 1991 when he captured his first title. Kevin Durant, this season's MVP, has posted a PER of 22.7 this postseason.
From Elias: LeBron James is one of four players in NBA history averaging at least 25 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists in games with a chance to clinch a postseason series.[+]
LeBron scored 49 points in Game 4... so what will he do for an encore? The last time he scored 49 points in a playoff game, LeBron backed that up with 35 points in a victory. LeBron James is averaging 33 points, nearly 10 rebounds and shooting just shy of 40 percent from 3-point range after 40 point games in a single postseason. More importantly, his teams are 7-and-3 in those contests... 5-0 when playing at home.[+]
LeBron James in Single Postseason - Following 40-point Game
The Heat are 8-0 at home in potential series-clinching games in the James-Wade-Bosh era (since 2011 playoffs).[+]
Heat at Home with Chance to Clinch Series - James-Wade-Bosh Era (Since 2011)
Ray Allen hit a 3-pointer with 32 seconds remaining to give the Heat their first lead since the first half. The Heat hit eight second-half 3-pointers, five of which were uncontested. In the first half, they shot a season-worst 1-of-16 from 3-point range.[+]
Heat 3-pt Shooting by Half, Wednesday
The Heat needed a 13-3 run to close out the Nets in Game 5 but Miami remained perfect in the Big 3 era (since 2010-11) when leading 3 games to 1 in a series.[+]
Game 5 When Up 3-1 - Heat In Big 3 Era (Since 2010-11)
Dwyane Wade scored 1 point per every touch he made in the first half, almost tripling his points per touch rate (0.36) from the first 8 games of the playoffs. He was also aggressive, shooting 3-of-3 on drives 6-of-6 at the free throw line.[+]
Dwyane Wade Per Game This Postseason
Including luxury tax, it cost Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov a league-high $193M to field his team this season. No picks in 2014 NBA Draft $85.1M in guaranteed contracts in 2014-15 (projected salary cap is $63.2M) Best free agency tool: Taxpayer mid-level exception (can sign any free agent to a contract with a starting salary up to $3.3M) Paul Pierce: unrestricted free agent Kevin Garnett: entering final season of current contract (the $12M he's due to make is fully guaranteed - was only $6M guaranteed at the time he signed the contract with the Celtics but the Nets agreed to make it fully guaranteed when Garnett agreed to waive his no-trade clause) Andrei Kirilenko ($3.3M), Andray Blatche ($1.4M) and Alan Anderson ($1.1M) have player options.
The Heat were 1-of-16 from 3 in the 1st half. The 15 misses are their most from behind the arc in FIRST half in the Big 3 era (since 2010-11), including the playoffs.
Ray Allen improved to 10-of-16 on game-tying or go-ahead 3-pt FG in the final minute in the 4th quarter or overtime in his postseason career. That is the best percentage on such shots in the playoffs since he entered the league. It was his first go-ahead 3-pointer in such situations since Game 6 of the NBA Finals last year against the Spurs.[+]
Dwyane Wade scored a playoff-best 28 points Wednesday, 20 of which came in the first half. Wade was successful driving to the hoop, nearly doubling his playoff average (4.4 PPG).[+]
Dwyane Wade Per Game, This Postseason
Dwyane Wade (MIA): 20 points in 1st half tonight matches season-high for either half. He scored 20 in the 1st half against the Cavaliers on December 14 (only other 20-point half of the season).
Joe Johnson was 15-of-23 (65.2 percent) from the field in Game 5, the highest field goal percentage by a Nets player in the postseason (min. 20 FGA) since Vince Carter was also 15-of-23 in 2007 against the Raptors. It's the third-highest field goal percentage by a player in a losing effort in the postseason in the last three years, minimum 20 FGA.[+]
Joe Johnson scored a game-high 31 points, shooting 6-of-6 for 13 points through the first three and a half quarters when LeBron James was his primary defender. James locked down Johnson in the game's final 5 minutes, holding him to 0-of-2 from the field and preventing him from getting a shot off on the game's final play.
Chris Bosh (MIA): 4-6 on 3-pointers, tied for his most makes in a playoff game (Game 2 vs Bobcats in 1st Round)
ESPN Stats & Information