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James, Heat rout Nets in Game 1
Miami, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - The Miami Heat finally cracked the Brooklyn Nets' code.
And unlike the previous four meetings this season, this one wasn't close.
LeBron James had 22 points and five rebounds and the Heat routed the Nets, 107-86, in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series.
Brooklyn won all four meetings in the regular season by a combined 12 points. Three of those victories came by a mere point, while the other came in double overtime.
The Heat led by three points at the half, but pulled away in the third quarter after outscoring the Nets 33-23 and shooting 70.6 percent (12-of-17) from the floor. They took a 13-point advantage into the fourth, where the two-time defending champs cruised to victory.
Game 2 is Thursday night in Miami.
Chris Bosh posted 15 points and 11 rebounds, while Ray Allen knocked down four 3-pointers off the bench and finished with 19 points for the Heat, who hadn't played since sweeping the Charlotte Bobcats in the first round on April 28.
"I liked the energy, the activity," Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said. "Guys were competing like that the last couple of days in practice."
Dwyane Wade, who missed two of the meetings between Brooklyn this season due to injuries, added 14 points and five assists in the triumph.
Miami shot 56.8 percent (42-of-74) from the field and outscored the Nets in the paint, 52-28.
"I think the most important thing was the rhythm we were in," James said. "We were in attack mode and we didn't turn the ball over ... We got what we wanted."
Joe Johnson and Deron Williams netted 17 points apiece to lead the Nets, while Kevin Garnett went scoreless for the first time in his playoff career.
"We need to attack them more than we did tonight," Garnett said.
Brooklyn advanced to the East semis after barely hanging on to beat the Toronto Raptors in a Game 7 at the Air Canada Centre when Paul Pierce blocked Kyle Lowry's floater right before the buzzer.
The Heat headed into the break with a 46-43 edge and further extended that advantage with a 15-2 run during the middle stages of the third quarter.
Bosh put in the first seven points of the surge, which included a triple and a three-point play from the Miami center, and Mario Chalmers capped it with a layup for a 70-54 spread.
Williams banked in a straightaway three right before the third-quarter buzzer to cut the deficit to 79-66 heading into the fourth, but Brooklyn never whittled the gap any further in the final frame.
Miami, meanwhile, built a bulge as high 23 points down the stretch.
Earlier, the Heat led 22-20 after a quarter of play and Bosh concluded a 12-4 burst in the second with a pair of free throws for a 34-24 cushion near the midway point of the stanza.
Johnson finished off an 11-2 Brooklyn surge with a trey to get the Nets within 42-40, and Williams knocked down a 3-pointer at the horn just over a minute later.
This set marks the 26th time that two teams meet in a best-of-seven series after one went 4-0 or better against the other during the regular season. The regular-season winner has won all 25 previous series ... This is the fifth time that Pierce and James are squaring off in a playoff series. Pierce won the first two while James was in Cleveland, and James has taken the last two since coming to Miami ... The Nets shot 47.1 percent (33-of-70) from the field.
05/06 22:23:41 ET
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