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King James Imparts His Wrath on Nets
LeBron cuts down Nets with 49 points in Game 4
BROOKLYN – In the battle of legendary small forwards, LeBron James and Paul Pierce, the tally went: LeBron 49, Pierce 16 points. Pierce after the Brooklyn Nets lost Game 3 against the reigning world champion Miami Heat, was quoted as saying how the Nets weren’t afraid of the Heat. In the end, the Nets didn’t show any fear against their vaunted foe, but sloppy and choppy play in the closing minutes that enabled them to lose a heartbreaker, 102-96.
LeBron in some ways had the quietest 49 in recent memory. Maybe because he lived in the paint and had countless breakaway dunks off of run-outs. In other words, it wasn’t a classic, Michael Jordan, Dominique Wilkins or Bernard King bevy of swollen points. Either way, as a superstar and the best player on the planet, his point total did what was needed. “Yeah, I mean he reads the game, he reads the game as well as anybody that’s played this game and does whatever is needed,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “He was simply indefatigable; just the entire game, on both ends of the court.”
Nets coach Jason Kidd offered his take on what transpired, “I think both teams were trying to find a way to make a basket. Both teams were struggling. Both teams defensively were holding pat. They made the shot and we didn’t.”
Joe Johnson failed on two isolation attempts against LeBron. The play call has come into question regarding Kidd to which he defended, “One, he’s a very talented player and we want him to touch the ball. So we got the ball to our best player and he got some good looks but they just didn’t go down.”
The crucial backbreaker shot Kidd was referring to was the 3-pointer from the corner off of a kick-out initiated by LeBron off of a double team in the paint. And were the Nets were red hot from three-point land in Game 3 hitting 15 from beyond the arc, they were a miserable 5-22 for 23 percent.
Pierce, himself a future Hall-of-Famer didn’t play horrible. In fact, most people would agree that even at the age of 36, he’s been the teams’ best player all season, including the Playoffs. But Pierce is no longer the same 38 minute per night player. Kevin Garnett is far less effective and usually plays about 25 minutes per contest since returning from back problems which kept him sidelined for a good chunk of the season.
They say, ‘you live by the 3, you die by the three.’ The Nets have to shoot better in order to survive Game 5 in Miami to get this series back to Brooklyn for Game Six.
Jerald L. Hoover