The Heat advanced to their fourth consecutive Eastern Conference Finals, this time at the hands of the Brooklyn Nets, after defeating them 96-94 to win the Semi-Final series 4 games to 1.
Even though the Nets jumped out to an early 11-4 lead, the Heat were able to come back and take the First Quarter 23-22. Dwyane Wade looked like his old self in the quarter, scoring 12 points to lead the Heat. Paul Pierce scored nine for the Nets.
The Nets grabbed control of the game in the Second Quarter, winning the period 27-19, and taking a 49-42 lead into the half. Joe Johnson, Mirza Teletovic, and Deron Williams each scored six points in the quarter for Brooklyn. Wade again led the Heat with eight points in the period.
The Third Quarter was tightly contested, with the Nets winning the period 26-24, and extending their lead to 75-66 entering the final frame. Johnson caught fire, scoring 12 points in the quarter for the Nets. Chris Bosh scored eight points in the period for the Heat.
The Heat finally woke up in the Fourth Quarter, outscoring the Nets 30-19, to edge out Brooklyn for the win. The Heat had fallen down 91-83 with 4:48 left, and then got a huge three pointer from LeBron James to cut the lead to 91-86. After a quick bucket from Wade and two free throws from James, the Heat were only down by one, 91-90. With a crucial stop under a minute, the Heat came down and found Ray Allen on the wing for a big three pointer to go ahead 93-91 with 32 seconds remaining. Shaun Livingston missed a close jumper and the Nets were forced to foul. Allen hit two free throws to push the lead to 95-91. Johnson came back to hit a three, closing the lead to 95-94. James then hit one of two free throws to push the final margin to 96-94.
In all, for the Heat, James finished with 29 points, to go along with nine rebounds and five assists. Wade scored 28 points, including 20 in the first half. Chris Bosh added 16 points.
For Brooklyn, Johnson scored a game high 34 points, along with seven rebounds. Pierce added 19 points. Williams scored 17 points and dished four assists.
PLAYER OF THE SERIES: LeBron James. Surprise! James again was pivotal in the Heat’s success. For the series, he averaged 30 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 3.6 apg, while shooting 57% from the field, 38% from three-point range, and 81% from the free-throw line.
The Heat now await the winner of the Pacers-Wizards series.