MIAMI (AP) — Dwyane Wade knows the Brooklyn Nets will have something up their collective sleeves. He’s just not sure what.
And there’s the challenge of the playoffs. Miami knows Brooklyn will be tweaking something — maybe lots of somethings — before the teams meet Thursday night in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series, with the Heat holding a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven matchup.READ MORE: Parental Rights Bill Sent To Florida Governor Ron DeSantis
“The biggest thing we’re going to have to do is make adjustments to their adjustments, and do it fast,” Wade said Wednesday after the Heat practiced. “They’re going to come out, obviously, having seen some things that worked that maybe they didn’t do much and we have to come out and make adjustments to that.”
The Heat had all the answers in Game 1, shooting 57 percent, getting 22 points from LeBron James to lead a balanced scoring effort and pulling away in the second half for a 107-86 win. After going 0-4 against Brooklyn in the regular season, Miami led virtually the entire way and scored 61 points after halftime.
The margin looked comfortable. Talk of said margin made Heat coach Erik Spoelstra seem decidedly uncomfortable.
“They’re a veteran-enough group, Brooklyn, to know that the final score doesn’t mean anything in the playoffs,” Spoelstra said. “It’s a long series. Throw that one away, you still have another opportunity to do what you came for. We had very good urgency and focus coming into that same game. We cannot have a letdown.”
Spoelstra’s right, of course, in that Brooklyn can get what it came for by winning Game 2 — for that would give the Nets home-court advantage and quickly change the complexion of the matchup.
For that to happen, Brooklyn needs to fix quite a bit. But this isn’t the first time the Nets are having their resiliency tested.
Having short memories when things go wrong is typically paramount to a team’s success, and the Nets have shown a propensity for forgetting troubled times quickly. They were 10-21 on Jan. 1, then went 34-17 to close the regular season. Plus, in games immediately following a loss of 15 points or more, Brooklyn has gone 12-4.
The margin in Game 1: 21 points.READ MORE: Coral Gables Man Refuses To Sell Family House Swallowed By Massive Development
And while Nets coach Jason Kidd was a player on the last team to beat the Heat in a playoff matchup — Dallas rallied from down 1-0 to win the 2011 Finals — it’s obvious that Game 2 looms large, especially since neither James nor Wade have ever lost a series after going up 2-0.
“We’ve been tested, beginning of the season, middle of the season, late in the season and in the first round,” said Kidd, whose team has gone 5-8 since finishing off its four-game regular-season sweep of the Heat. “It’s nothing new to us. Hopefully we can draw from that experience and help us find a way to win Game 2.”
There were elements of Game 1 that Brooklyn probably liked, such as keeping James in some sort of scoring check, keeping him and Wade mostly off the line (they combined to shoot only two free throws all night) and finishing the evening with only 13 turnovers. But Brooklyn also allowed five Miami players to reach double figures, and that was big.
“That hurt,” Nets guard Joe Johnson said. “Defensively, that’s not us, man. We can’t let the other guys around LeBron and Wade have 15, 17 points. To beat this team, you can’t allow that.”
Johnson and Deron Williams combined to make 14 of 21 shots for the Nets. Everyone else on Brooklyn’s roster went 19 of 49 from the floor, and Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett were just 3-for-10 for eight points.
“Game 2’s going to be entirely different from Game 1, with all the adjustments and what-not,” Miami forward Shane Battier said. “If you’ve been around the block long enough, you understand that. What we took away from those four games in the regular season was we didn’t play with much energy. We tried to be cool about it. You don’t win in the playoffs by being cool. You win in the playoffs by being tough and playing with energy.”
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