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Williams’ goose egg haunts Nets

LeBron James and the Miami Heat completed the home sweep of the Nets.
LeBron James and the Miami Heat completed the home sweep of the Nets.Getty Images

The Nets received surprising contributions from both Mirza Teletovic and Shaun Livingston in Game 2, but a no-show from point guard Deron Williams plagued the Nets in their Game 2 loss.

Williams shot 0-for-9 from the field, and the Miami Heat surged past the Nets in the fourth quarter, 94-82. With the game essentially over, Williams drove to the rim to get on the board, but Chris Bosh swatted away his attempt. For Brooklyn, a fitting end to a frustrating evening.

The cherry on top occurred when the Heat grabbed three offensive rebounds on the same possession, which concluded with a LeBron James layup. The sequence killed 1:40 off the clock and pushed the Heat’ lead to 10 with two minutes left in the game.

Head coach Jason Kidd tried to protect his player following the game, but ultimately, the Nets need Williams to win his match-up against Mario Chalmers to have any shot against the two-time defending champs.

“He had 7 rebounds and 6 assists,” Kidd said. “We look for him to bounce back in game 3, but overall I thought he was good."

Coaches will generally not admonish a player publicly, but the Nets built this franchise around Williams. They gave him $98 million and the keys to the castle. Following the blockbuster trade with the Celtics, Kevin Garnett was quoted as saying he and Pierce came to the Nets to “provide a support system for Deron.”

Although Williams’ teammates did not exactly set the world on fire, the star point guard played timid. After he had missed a few shots, he gained penetration into the lane and immediately looked to pass the ball. His poor start followed him throughout the entire game, which is not a great attribute for a max player.

Even with the Heat playing what they would likely admit was a subpar game, Williams received help from his those unexpected sources. Teletovic was unconscious in the first half. The stretch forward led the Nets to a one-point halftime lead and finished the game with 20 points. He made six of his nine three-point attempts.

Livingston helped the Nets’ cause as well, leading the starters with 15 points and absorbing a lot James’ abuse on the defensive end.

Unfortunately for the Nets, the Heat still has James, the world’s best player, and Ray Allen is channeling a younger form of himself. James finished with a game-high 22 points and Allen pitched in with 13 points and eight rebounds off the bench.

“We didn't have the energy or effort down the stretch,” said Joe Johnson, who scored 13 points. “We fought hard to stay within reach and those last few possessions really killed us. I don't know if it was because we were tired or what, but we didn't have the energy that we need.”

The Heat took a commanding 2-0 lead with the win. Historically, teams that grab a 2-0 lead win the series 78 percent of the time. The series shifts to Brooklyn Saturday night, where the Nets will host Game 3 at 8 p.m.

“We have to stay confident, keep talking to one another, stay positive and getting each other's back,” Johnson said. “This series is far from over.”