MIAMI – Turns out, the Miami Heat can beat the Brooklyn Nets.
And rest hardly led to rust for the two-time defending NBA champions.
LeBron James scored 22 points, Ray Allen added 19 and the Heat stayed perfect in this postseason by beating the Nets 107-86 on Tuesday night in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series. It was the first win for Miami in five meetings with Brooklyn this season.
“It’s one,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “But I liked the energy, the activity.”
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.
This one was a different story. 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.
“It was great that we were able to come out the way we did after being off eight days,” James said. “We got a lot of work in. We had eight days off of not playing a basketball game but Spo got us in the gym. (We) got each other in the gym. We made each other accountable throughout the layoff and it proved tonight.”
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.
“This is the defending champs,” Nets coach Jason Kidd said. “It’s always going to be at a high level and we’ve got to find a way to match it.”
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 from 3-point land.
“He was focused on the job at hand,” James said. Spurs 116, Trail Blazers 92
In San Antonio, Tony Parker had 33 points and nine assists and the Spurs never trailed in Game 1 of their Western Conference semifinal in a rout of Portland.
“He’s been doing that for a lot of years,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “It’s nothing different. He’s the guy that’s our attack guy. (He) creates for everybody and starts the offense. He’s also played very good defense this year and most people don’t really see that.”
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 opening-round series against Dallas. Marco Belinelli had 19 points and the Australian connection of Aron Baynes and Patty Mills had 10 points apiece.
LaMarcus Aldridge had 32 points and 14 rebounds and Damian Lillard had 17 points for the Trail Blazers, but the All-Star duo combined for just 17 points in the first half as San Antonio built a 26-point lead.
The Spurs never led by less than 20 in the second half.
Portland was coming off a first-round upset of Houston.