Not Done Yet: Nets 104, Heat 90 (GAME GRADES)

The Brooklyn Nets CENTER

Ain’t no place like home, right?

After putting up two stinkers in the first two games, appearing to give up early in Game 1 and then throwing away Game 2, the Nets came home and put together their best performance against the Heat this season, converting their open three-pointers, defending at the rim, and holding off a Heat squad that almost turned this game into a contest down the stretch.

The Nets showed off their depth, with six players scoring in double figures and two others adding more than eight points. They didn’t look rattled or worried about their 2-0 deficit in the series. Now it’s 2-1.

Deron Williams POINT GUARD

39 mins, 3-11 FG%, 1-2 FT%, 9 PTS, 11 ASTS, 3 RBS, 1 STL, 0 BLKS, 2 TOSĀ 

It took him less than 30 seconds to remove the cap from his 0-for-9 performance Thursday night, recovering an offensive rebound on the floor and hitting a floater in the paint. He didn’t score again until the third quarter, but just getting over that hump was a great mental start, and he bounced back from arguably his worst offensive game ever with a much-improved all-around performance.

Shaun Livingston POINT GUARD

29 mins, 5-9 FG%, 1-1 FT%, 12 PTS, 5 ASTS, 4 RBS, 1 STL, 0 BLKS, 0 TOS

Hit the longest shot of his career and continued to attack throughout. Put one of the finishing touches on the game with a two-hand flush in the fourth quarter in traffic. Glue guy does it again.

Joe Johnson SHOOTING GUARD

34 mins, 7-10 FG%, 0-0 FT%, 19 PTS, 6 ASTS, 3 RBS, 0 STL, 0 BLKS, 2 TOS

Hey, he led the team in scoring before the rout was on! Hey, he scored 16 points in his first eight shots and added six assists! He’s there! He put the capper on the game with a corner three-pointer to put the Nets up 16 with under a minute left! Hello? Is this thing on?

Paul Pierce POWER FORWARD

28 mins, 5-10 FG%, 2-3 FT%, 14 PTS, 1 AST, 7 RBS, 2 STLS, 0 BLKS, 3 TOSĀ 

Was visibly upset after his fourth foul with 8:29 to go in just the third quarter but was a positive in his minutes.

Kevin Garnett CENTER

22 mins, 5-6 FG%, 0-0 FT%, 10 PTS, 1 AST, 7 RBS, 0 STLS, 0 BLKS, 1 TO

He drove. He dribbled. He scored. I saw it.

Garnett looked much more alive in Game 3 than he did in the first two games: contained pick-and-rolls, hit a couple of jumpers and made his easy shots. Maybe he’s not done just yet.

Andray Blatche POWER FORWARD

19 mins, 5-10 FG%, 5-6 FT%, 15 PTS, 1 ASTS, 10 RBS, 0 STLS, 0 BLKS, 1 TO

DRAY LIVE. LIVE, DRAY. Blatche attempted a Dray Shake, crossed up Chris Bosh en route to a layup, tied his playoff career-high in points in eight minutes of playing time, defended with aplomb, fought for offensive rebounds to the delight of the crowd, led the team in scoring in the first half, and exited to a standing ovation.

This is Dray at his Drayest: he does whatever he wants at any time he wants, with no plan, rhyme, reason, or concept.

Andrei Kirilenko SMALL FORWARD

19 mins, 1-1 FG%, 1-2 FT%, 3 PTS, 1 AST, 3 RBS, 1 STL, 0 BLKS, 0 TO

ANDREI CENTERLENKO. The Nets put Kirilenko at the center in a ridiculously spread-out lineup to end the first half, resulting in a fair amount of fun.

Alan Anderson SHOOTING GUARD

17 mins, 3-6 FG%, 0-0 FT%, 8 PTS, 1 AST, 1 RBS, 0 STLS, 1 BLK, 0 TO

Yeah, you don’t remember anything he did before Ray Allen held him by the throat and he swung an elbow at Allen in retaliation. You don’t have to. That jump-started his game, and the two of them went back-and-forth for a few fun possessions. Hey, anything that gets Ray Allen off his game in the playoffs with his team down is a good thing.

Mirza Teletovic POWER FORWARD

19 mins, 4-7 FG%, 0-0 FT%, 12 PTS, 0 ASTS, 6 RBS, 1 STLS, 0 BLKS, 3 TOS

Remember when he only played one minute in last year’s playoffs? He doesn’t either.

S’Parkinga, Fearza, whatever you want to call him, the guy hit threes and defended LeBron James for long stretches. He hit threes and took heat checks with reckless abandon. He has no fear and no conscience. When it’s on, it’s hard as all hell to stop him.