scored 13 points, but it was his eight rebounds that provided the biggest lift. (Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
The Miami Heat remained undefeated this postseason after holding off the Brooklyn Nets 94-82 in Game 2 to take a 2-0 series lead. The Eastern Conference semifinal resumes Saturday in Brooklyn.
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• The strangest dagger of Ray Allen's career. Ray Allen is known for his clutch play -- like the three-pointer he drilled in the final seconds in Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals to sink the Spurs. In Game 2 on Thursday, the NBA's all-time three-point king delivered a different kind of dagger, one we aren't accustomed to see the sharpshooter doing.
The Nets scored with 3:39 remaining in the fourth quarter to cut the Heat's lead to eight. Miami needed to find a way to defuse Brooklyn's rally, but came up empty when LeBron James missed a long jumper and appeared to give the Nets a key chance. But instead of hauling in the rebound, the unsuspecting Nets were caught off guard by the most unconventional dagger of Allen's career: a game-clinching offensive rebound.
Allen hauled in the board with 3:07 remaining before kicking it back out. It was the start of a 100-second possession that would feature three offensive rebounds in all. If a 100-second play wasn't demoralizing enough, the manner in which it ended left the Nets feeling even more helpless: a layup by LeBron. But James wouldn't have been able to score the basket that put the Heat up 10 with 1:59 remaining if it hadn't been for that rebound from Allen -- one of a team-high eight he registered Thursday.
If "Game-Clinching Offensive Rebound From Ray Allen" wasn't damning enough for Brooklyn, this photo of four idle Nets getting out-rebounded by the 38-year-old should do the trick:
Jesus Shuttlesworth that's a terrible job of boxing out. It's also another example of Allen being the consummate pro and a guy you want on your team in the playoffs, even in the final leg of his career. Despite being older than his ex-Celtic and current-Net pals Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, Allen showed the most spring in his step Thursday. His 13 points (5-of-8 shooting) and three three-pointers were solid, but his eight rebounds were exemplary, marking his second-highest total in 88 games this season.
Allen has much more business beyond the arc than in the paint, but on a night when the Heat's stars needed a lift and the team's big men were losing the battle on the glass (43-36), Allen's efforts in addition to his usual sharpshooting were well appreciated.
• Deron Williams' Infamous Bagels. The Nets better hope this isn't a late addition to the Barclays Center menu before Game 3. Several Nets struggled to get going offensively in Game 2 -- including Garnett (four points, 2-of-8 shooting) and Joe Johnson (13 points, 6-of-14) -- but those struggles paled in comparison to Williams' shooting woes. Brooklyn's starting point guard finished with 0 points of 0-of-9 shooting.
Williams added seven rebounds and six assists in the losing effort, but his game-worst -18 plus/minus rating showed those contributions were minimal. With Williams, who was averaging 16.9 points per game in the playoffs coming into Game 2, going scoreless, Brooklyn's offense lacked the spark it needed to keep up with the two-time defending champions, scoring just 15 points in the fourth quarter and losing by 12.
If it hadn't been for Mirza Teletovic, who came off the bench to score a team-high 20 points, Game 2 could very well have been a blowout. Teletovic went 4-of-4 from three-point range in the first half and finished 6-of-9 overall, letting it fly in hopes of saving his struggling team.
But overcoming a bagel from your star point guard and lackluster nights from Garnett, Pierce and Johnson requires a lot more than a nice spark off the bench. Brooklyn desperately needs Williams to step up in Game 3 in order to salvage this series.
• LeBron is still in cruise control. Earlier this year, LeBron James -- he of four MVPs and two championships -- admitted to getting "jealous sometimes" of Kevin Durant, his No. 1 competition for best basketball player in the world. So what could possibly make King James envious?
"I look over at KD and he's like 16-for-32 (from the field) and then 14-for-34...Man," LeBron told ESPN.com back in January. "But there are games where I have it going, and then at the end of the game, I'm like, damn, I shot just 12-for-16? Why don't I get up at least six or seven more? I definitely notice it."
He isn't the only one. Mind you, I'm about to critique a player that has won the last two Finals MVPs and is 6-0 in the playoffs this season, but it's pretty obvious LeBron is still holding back this postseason. The Nets don't have a single wing defender capable of going one-on-one with him, and their best option, his longtime rival Pierce, twisted his ankle in the first quarter of Game 2. But rather than go at the hobbled defender, LeBron deferred and picked his spots. He shot just 11 times in the first three quarters and finished 9-of-18 for the night with 22 points.
One might think that LeBron, after seeing Durant win MVP and capture the nation's attention, would be motivated to come out guns ablaze in Game 2 trying to best his contemporary. Instead, he finished with an efficient but quiet evening, continuing his streak of six straight playoff games in which he's shot at least 50 percent.
It's not that LeBron needs to do more. It's that we know he can and that he's choosing not to.
If the rest of the league wasn't already scared of the two-time defending champions, the fact that they're undefeated this postseason with LeBron laying off the throttle should send a shiver.
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