For the first time, including their four regular-season victories over the Miami Heat, the Brooklyn Nets finally constructed a dominant performance against the Heat, defeating their vaunted opponent 104-90 in Saturday night's Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals series. In the victory, there was no need to rely on the Heat being unable to field a full and healthy complement of players or the fact that the Heat might have been coasting through the contest as they wait for games more important before turning their full attention on the game of basketball. Instead, there were just the Nets and the Heat in the playoffs doing their best to come out on top, and the Nets being the one to accomplish the feat.
Perhaps a more apt description than simply saying that the Nets came out on top, prevailing over the Heat for the first time this season would be to say that the Nets remained on ground level while simply burying the Heat under a barrage of three-pointers. Not only did the Nets launch a high number of three-pointers, 25 in all, but they connected on a spectacularly high percentage of them, making 15 of their attempts, which boosted their effective field goal percentage to a robust 63.2 percent. Factor in their 13 free throw attempt makes, and their true shooting percentage comes in at a terrifically high 65.4 percent.
Doing most of the heavy lifting when it came to the Nets' three-point efficiency were Joe Johnson, who converted on five of his seven three-point attempts, and Mirza Teletovic, who chipped in with four three-point makes on his own seven three-point attempts. The two combined to propel the Nets offense to the fantastic heights that were reached in Saturday's contest.
For the Nets, the shooting efficiency heights they reached were of the rarified air variety, not just for this postseason but even going back to their 82 regular-season contests. Their Game 3 performance represented their best shooting night of the playoffs to this point and also would have been good enough to rank as one of their top-ten performances of the regular season.
Despite their otherworldly shooting performance in their Game 3 win, the Nets should not now be confused for one of the best offensive teams in the NBA; they are still not, having fielded a barely above-average offensive unit during the season. However, their Game 3 victory should demonstrate what they are capable of on offense when they are on fire from long distance.
Chances are the Nets will struggle mightily to replicate their hot shooting night so the Heat should not worry too much about clamping down any harder on the Nets' three-point shooting since the Heat are already pretty stout when it comes to defending three-pointers on most nights. However, the Heat cannot take the Nets too lightly, either, since Game 3 showed that the Nets are capable of beating the Heat on any night. Too bad the Nets will be forced to do it on three other nights out of four in order to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals.
Any team can have one great shooting night; now the Nets will have to demonstrate they are not just a one-game wonder, a task they are more than likely to fail out.