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 an 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.