Heat and Spurs win 2nd-round series openers
MIAMI (AP) — Defending champion Miami and perennial power San Antonio asserted their claims to the NBA title with authoritative wins on Tuesday in the opening games of their NBA second-round playoff series.
Miami was too good for its bogey team Brooklyn, beating the Nets 107-86, while San Antonio led from start to finish in beating Portland 116-92.
LeBron James scored 22 points and Ray Allen added 19 as Miami remained undefeated this postseason.
Brooklyn had beaten the Heat narrowly in all four of their previous meeting this season.
Chris Bosh scored 15 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, Dwyane Wade finished with 14 points and Mario Chalmers had 12 for Miami, which recorded at least one regular-season win against every team except Brooklyn, losing four times by a total of 12 points.
Deron Williams and Joe Johnson scored 17 points each for the Nets, who got only eight from Paul Pierce and no points from Kevin Garnett in 16 minutes.
Game 2 of the best-of-seven series is Thursday night.
A 24-9 run in the third quarter blew things open for the Heat, who hadn’t played in eight days after sweeping Charlotte in the opening round. James finished 10 for 15 from the field and Allen — who had never faced his former Boston “Big 3” compatriots Pierce and Garnett in the playoffs — was 4 of 7 in 3 pointers.
Miami’s lead was 55-52 early in the third quarter after a 3-pointer by Williams, and every indication was that the Heat and Nets — who played three one-point games and a double-overtime affair in the regular season — were heading down to the wire again.
San Antonio’s Tony Parker had 33 points and nine assists as the Spurs bullied a younger Portland and won 116-92.
Kawhi Leonard had 16 points and Tim Duncan added 12 points and 11 rebounds for San Antonio.
More importantly for the Spurs, their bench contributed mightily after being virtually non-existent in the series against Dallas.
Marco Belinelli had 19 points and the Australian connection of Aron Baynes and Patty Mills had 10 points apiece.
The Spurs had their most complete game of the postseason, playing with the flair and fluidity that resulted in the league’s best regular season record.
Portland, meanwhile, didn’t come close to resembling the confident and sharp-shooting group that upset Houston in the opening round.
LaMarcus Aldridge had 32 points and 14 rebounds and Damian Lillard had 17 points for Portland, but the All-Star duo combined for just 17 points in the first half as San Antonio built a 26-point lead.
Duncan left the game with 4 minutes remaining in the first quarter after picking up two quick fouls, but the Spurs increased their lead in his absence thanks to big bench contributions.
Baynes had an immediate impact after playing only the final 6 minutes of San Antonio’s Game 7 victory over Dallas. He scored four points quickly and continued the physical defense against Aldridge that Splitter established.
Belinelli finished 3 for 5 from 3-point range, leading the Spurs’ bench to leap to their feet in loud celebration after the Italian guard’s struggles in the opening series. After going just 4 for 7 on 3-pointers against Dallas, Belinelli opened the game by hitting his first three attempts from long range.