Jason Kidd sat at the podium after his Nets had just beaten the Heat in game 3 of the Eastern Conference Semi-finals, uncharacteristically stoic, very businesslike. There was no time for kidding around. You could feel the weight on his shoulders of the monumental task at hand- his team must win the next three out of four games against the Heat (and one at the American Airlines Arena). Possible, sure, probable, well....
When asked about the mindset of his team coming into game three, down 0-2 in the series, Paul Pierce said, "We didn't panic. We will take it one game at a time. We will play with a sense of urgency the rest of the series."
The Nets were helped in their decisive 104-90 victory by their raucous, sellout crowd. "I loved the vibe, I feed off it," exclaimed Pierce. "It's an adrenaline rush, I just love the atmosphere, when it's like that. It's the reason I play the game."
The Nets had 6 guys in double figures, and 40 points off the bench. "The bench points were huge for us," remarked Pierce. "The energy off the bench gave us a big boost. The win was a great, collective team effort."
"We are all on the same page, we trust each other," reflected J. kidd. "Dray (Andray Blatche) and Mirza (Teletovic) came off the bench big for us. Teletovic has shot extremely well the last 2 games. He has confidence taking the three's- that's what he does- he stretches the defense." Paul Pierce agrees, "Mirza has been given the opportunity this year. He is a big part of what we are doing this year."Blatche added a total of 15 points on 5 for 10 from the field with 10 rebounds.
The Nets shot 52.8% for the game and 15 for 25 from 3 point land (60%), which is a franchise single game record during the playoffs. Teletovic went 4 for 7 from downtown, Joe Johnson 5 for 7 and Pierce 2 for 3. Teletovic attributed the win to many factors. "Everyone was focused, concentrating and playing like a team. Everyone was talking and helping each other on defense. We shared the ball on offense. When we play like that, we are a tough matchup for them." The Nets had 26 assists on 38 field goal attempts and, on some possessions, had 6 or 7 passes before they found the open man. It was a huge team effort.
D Williams set the tone for the offense, being aggressive and attacking the paint, kicking it out for his teammates. "He is setting the pace when we get a rebound-he gets it out early," said Kidd.
After the game, Eric Spoelstra reflected on the Nets performance and the resulting Heat loss. Brooklyn consistently got good looks from three point range. "The Nets were open for some 3's and we didn't rotate the way we wanted to. They got into a great rhythm and even their inside-the-three shots were open for a while, particularly in the second half. They moved the ball extremely well in the second half and in that third quarter they had a couple of possessions where it was multiple passes for open shots. We just have to step up those multiple efforts against those types of plays," said Spoelstra.
LeBron thought the third quarter was a deciding factor since the Nets outshot the Heat, 26 to 14. "We allowed them whatever they wanted. We need a sense of urgency defensively; we gave up a lot of second chance points and were outrebounded by 16," said James. When asked about Joe Johnson's game, James stated, "He has been efficient offensively. Joe is a great player- he makes tough, contested shots. He plays at his own tempo- you can't speed him up." Johnson lead the Nets scorers with 19, LeBron finished with 28, Wade 20 and Chalmers had 12 for the Heat. This was the first loss for the Heat this postseason.
Game 4 of the series is Monday night in Brooklyn. The Heat will make adjustments and promise to put more pressure on the Nets in the final minutes. "This is a series," stated LeBron. "We will move on to the next game and learn from the previous ones."
What did Paul Pierce learn tonight from his team? "We are not scared of them and we are not panicking. Miami held up home court, we have to hold up home court and come out with the same intensity for game 4. We will have to get one in Miami."