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 their 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 here Monday night in Game 4.
James scored 28 points for the Heat, who hadn’t even faced a fourth-quarter deficit in these playoffs before having their eight-game winning streak in the postseason snapped. It was their 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 them to 33 points over the middle two quarters to take control.
Mirza Teletovic and Shaun Livingston each scored 12 points for the Nets.