Joe Johnson scored 19 points, Andray Blatche had career playoff highs of 15 points and 10 rebounds, and the Brooklyn Nets handed the Miami Heat its first loss this postseason, 104-90, on Saturday night in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Paul Pierce scored 14 points, Deron Williams and Kevin Garnett bounced back from awful offensive efforts, and the Nets withstood LeBron James’ 16-point first quarter and held him to two baskets over the final three quarters.
Brooklyn, which swept Miami in the regular season, can tie the series with a victory at home Monday night in Game 4.
James scored 28 points for the Heat, which hadn’t even faced a fourth-quarter deficit in these playoffs before having its eight-game winning streak in the postseason snapped. It was the Heat’s first loss since Game 5 of the NBA Finals.
The two-time defending champions were having an easy path to another Finals, winning their last four games by double digits. But the Nets shook off the Heat’s sizzling start, then held Miami to 33 points over the middle two quarters to take control.
Mirza Teletovic and Shaun Livingston each scored 12 points for the Nets in their first home postseason victory against the Heat. Teletovic made four of Brooklyn’s 15 three-pointers.
Williams, 0 for 9 in Game 2, shot just three for 11 but finished with nine points and 11 assists. Garnett, just two for 10 for four total points in Miami, shot five for six for 10 points and seven rebounds.
Dwyane Wade scored 20 points and James grabbed eight rebounds, but his night fell well short of what it could have been after his ferocious first quarter.
San Antonio 118, at Portland 103: Tony Parker scored 29 points and the Spurs pulled into a commanding 3-0 lead in their Western Conference semifinal series against the Trail Blazers.
The Spurs led by as many as 23 points in the first half, building a big early lead just as they had in the first two games of the series in San Antonio. The teams meet again Monday at the Moda Center.
LaMarcus Aldridge had 21 points and 12 rebounds for Portland, which pulled within eight points in the third quarter but couldn’t get any closer. The Blazers were hurt by 15 turnovers and only six points from their bench.
No NBA team has come back from a 3-0 deficit to win a seven-game series.
San Antonio is vying for a second straight trip to the Finals: Last season the Spurs fell to the Miami Heat in seven games.
The Blazers were without reserve guard Mo Williams, who has a groin injury.