Burned: Heat 107, Nets 86 (PLAYOFF GAME GRADES)

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The Brooklyn Nets CENTER

For all the talk of each team’s inverted offense and small-long hybrid lineups, this game came down to how each team performed in the paint, and the Nets couldn’t control it against a stronger, more athletic Heat team. The Nets had no answer for the Heat’s free-wheeling, curling guards, and scored tough baskets through contact and soft open layups with ease.

The Nets appeared content in the fourth quarter to ride out whatever happened with their bench, and adjust accordingly if they made another improbable comeback. They didn’t, and they’ll head to Game 2 with the blowout loss. If they take even one in Miami, it’ll be a win. But this one sure wasn’t.

Deron Williams POINT GUARD

Was not aggressive in the first quarter, but struggled to defend whoever he got switched on. Had one great crossover that led to a mid-range jumper and two buzzer-beating heaves, but those are also some lucky shots that you don’t expect him to hit.

Shaun Livingston POINT GUARD

Hit one of his early shots and was tasked with guarding LeBron James for long stretches, which did not go well for him. He didn’t look comfortable running the point.


Didn’t get going early with the Heat keying their defense towards him and LeBron James on full hound mode, but floor opened up as the game progressed and different guys guarded him. He’s also shooting three-pointers like it’s a video game. Sat the entire fourth quarter as Kidd decided to throw in the towel. Can’t really put this loss on him, unless you’re upset that he’s not as good as LeBron James, in which case, I guess you can put it on pretty much everyone.


Came to play early, inadvertently tackled Mario Chalmers, shot entirely too many mid-range jumpers, was largely ineffective after the first few minutes.

Kevin Garnett CENTER

Looked old. Did not score for the first time ever in his playoff career. Only played 16 minutes. Let’s see if he’s any more rested in Game 2. Sure was loud on the bench, though.

Andray Blatche POWER FORWARD

Frusdrayding. Controlled the glass for moments but also lost some silly turnovers and missed a wide-open layup with the Nets down 4 that kick-started a 12-0 Heat run. It was all downhill from here. This was bad, real bad, Andray Blatchin’.

Andrei Kirilenko SMALL FORWARD

At one moment in the third quarter, Kirilenko attacked LeBron James head-on off the dribble, drawing a foul. It was weird, but also kind of typified tonight’s problems: you can’t have Andrei Kirilenko trying to create points in a playoff game.


Mirza Teletovic POWER FORWARD

The Nets need either Teletovic or Thornton to show up and hit shots off the bench from three-point range. Teletovic hit one three-pointer all game.

Marcus Thornton SHOOTING GUARD

Thornton hit zero.

Mason Plumlee CENTER