2014 NBA Playoffs: Heat Role Players Step Up in Game 1 Win Against Nets
As expected, the Miami Heat had little trouble with the Brooklyn Nets in Game 1 of their series on Tuesday. After a close first half that saw a slim three-point Heat lead, Miami pulled away in the second for a 107-86 victory. While the game was a close one for two quarters, the Nets simply ran out of steam and were overpowered by the hot-shooting Heat, who made an incredible 57 percent of their field goals.
Miami’s stars all showed up to play but weren’t utterly dominant. LeBron James had a team-high 22 points while Dwyane Wade added 14. Chris Bosh had arguably the best game of the three with 15 points and a game-high 11 boards. Bosh really set the pace in rebounding and no other player on either side had more than six.
Those were all solid games, but for the most part, Miami’s stars were held relatively in check. None of the three players even reached their season averages in points and all told, holding the trio to only 51 points is a supreme achievement.
What really hurt Brooklyn were the big games had by some of the Heat role players.
Ray Allen led the way off the bench, scoring 19 points in only 26 minutes of action. Allen also led the Heat reserves in rebounds (four) and assists (three), and his trademark three-point shooting was also on display as he drained a game-high four of them.
Starting point guard Mario Chalmers is often forgotten when James, Wade, and Bosh are on the court, but he had a big game as well, adding in 12 points and a couple of steals. Chalmers has certainly had bigger games, but his six points late in the second quarter (he scored six of Miami’s final ten points of the second quarter) were a big reason the team went into the half with a lead.
Forwards Shane Battier and Chris Andersen also got in the act, combining for 15 points – five more than their season averages. Andersen’s hustle was again evident off the bench as he also tallied a game-high four blocks and was all over the court.
Miami doesn’t need big games from its role players to win the series. If they continue to play the way they did on Tuesday, however, it’s hard to imagine Brooklyn giving the team much trouble.