The Brooklyn Nets did just enough to take Game 3, cutting the Miami Heat’s series lead down to 2-1 — with a huge game 4 in the near distance, it was exactly what they needed.
Brooklyn outlasted LeBron’s red-hot first quarter, and combated that start with an overwhelming 15-for-25 shooting from three. That’s a scorching 60 percent from distance, compared to just 33 percent on the night for the Heat.
Miami didn’t necessarily play bad, they just didn’t play.
The Heat shot 46 percent from the field and scored 90 points. Most nights, that’s usually around what they need in order to win. However, the Nets were either insanely efficient on offense or they were insanely undefended on offense.
It was the latter, or maybe a mixture of the two.
Perhaps the other biggest distinction (other than three-point shooting) between the two teams (on the stat sheet) was the fact that the Nets out-rebounded the Heat 43-27. All effort.
The Nets were simply the hungrier team on Saturday night — and they needed to be. We already know what happens when a team goes down 3-0 in a series — they can practically begin to book their vacation flights.
But by winning Game 3, Brooklyn gives themselves at least a chance.
A chance to fight.
I’m not sure how much they’ll be fighting back, but it’s a least a fight, or a series, now.
After a scoreless Game 2, Joe Johnson rebounded nicely with a 19-point, six assist effort. Andray Blatche was instrumental off the bench and fed the Nets’ offense in key moments. He finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds.
Paul Pierce added 14 points on an efficient 5-for-10 shooting and Kevin Garnett added an even more efficient 10 points on 5-for-6 shooting.
They’ll need more of that Monday.
Game 4 could very well end of being the deciding game in this series, figuratively. There’s no possible way in which the series can end on Monday, however, there is a way it can be extended.
If the Nets win, we better buckle back in. If the Heat come out victorious, though, that could be a series dagger without it being the actual dagger.
Either way, the Nets dug themselves out of the series hole a bit with a Game 3 victory. They can see some light. They can pull themselves out with a Game 4 win.
But, as the question has been nearly the entire year for Brooklyn, will they?