News

Heat heads to Eastern Conference finals

Heat heads to Eastern Conference finals

PLAYOFFS: Miami Heat guard Dwayne Wade (3) reacts during the second half in game five of the second round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs against the Brooklyn Nets at American Airlines Arena. Miami won 96-94. Photo: Reuters

By Simon and Evans

MIAMI (Reuters) – The Miami Heat fought back from eight points down in the final three minutes to beat the Brooklyn Nets 96-94 and secure a place in the NBA’s Eastern Conference finals for the fourth straight year.

Reigning champions Miami claimed the series 4-1 but for a long time it looked as if they were going to suffer their first home loss of the postseason as Joe Johnson inspired the Nets with a game-high 34 points.

It was tough on a determined Nets after they trailed for less than six minutes in the entire game but coach Jason Kidd was able to find perspective at the end of the franchise’s second season since their move to Brooklyn and their first since major roster rebuilding.

“It felt like we had a great opportunity against the world champions but we came up short. It is a process,” said Kidd, in his first year as a head coach.

“Now it is time to keep building and keep the process going and getting better. To get to the second round of the playoffs gives us something to build on,” he said.

Miami will face either the Indiana Pacers or the Washington Wizards in the Eastern final. Indiana lead the series 3-2 going into Thursday’s game six on their home court.

LeBron James top-scored for Miami with 29 points while Dwyane Wade, who scored 20 points in the first half, ended with 28.

A trademark three-pointer from the corner from Ray Allen put Miami 93-91 ahead with 32 seconds left, the first time they had led in the fourth, and though the Nets had the final possession, James made a game-winning steal on Johnson to seal the win.

Allen’s shot, which recalled his game-tying effort in game six of last year’s final against San Antonio, left his coach Erik Spoelstra purring.

“That’s ‘every day Ray’, he just finds a way at the end. That is thousands and thousands of hours of practice and simulating pressure, that was a big-time three,” said the Heat coach.

James had dominated game four with 49 points and not surprisingly, Brooklyn adjusted to make sure that he was kept out of range.

Dwyane Wade, whose 28 points were his best of the postseason, duly took over, delivering a blistering first-half.

“After coming off that last game with 49 points I knew that they were going to be aware of him and so I took it upon myself to be very aggressive early on and open the game up,” said Wade.

Miami have now won 10 consecutive playoff series.

((Reporting By Simon Evans; Editing by Ian Ransom))

Recent Headlines

in Sports

Paul McGinley pulls out of PGA Championship with injury

Paul McGinley of Ireland laughs during a news conference after being named the European Ryder Cup captain at the St. REgis in Saadiyat Islands in Abu Dhabi on January 15, 2013.

European Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley has pulled out of the PGA Championship with a shoulder injury.

in National

Dollar Tree to buy Family Dollar for $8.5 billion

FILE - In this Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2005, file photo, customers walk past a Family Dollar store at Hickory Grove Market in Charlotte, N.C. Dollar Tree is buying rival discount store Family Dollar in a cash-and-stock deal valued at about $8.5 billion, the companies announced Monday, July 28, 2014.

Discount store chain Dollar Tree Inc offered to buy rival Family Dollar Stores Inc for about $8.5 billion.

in Sports

South African Tim Clark wins Canadian Open

Tim Clark tees off the 12th hole during the third round of the RBC Canadian Open at Royal Montreal GC - Blue Course on July 26, 2014.

South African Tim Clark sank a six-foot par putt to beat American Jim Furyk by one stroke at the Canadian Open.

in National

Tentative agreement reached on U.S. veterans’ funding bill

Senator-elect Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is interviewed by a Reuters reporter at Sanders' office in Burlington, Vermont on November 28, 2006.

The head of the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs, and his House counterpart will outline the funding agreement at a news conference today.

in National

One dead after lightning strikes beach crowd

A man is treated by a paramedic after a lightning strike in the water in Venice, California July 27, 2014.

One man died and at least eight people were injured in a lightning strike during a rare thunderstorm at Venice Beach in Los Angeles.