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Heat roll over Nets for 2-0 series lead Spurs continue run of hot form

MIAMI, May 9, (Agencies): LeBron James tallied 22 points and Chris Bosh had 18 points and six rebounds as the Miami Heat beat the Brooklyn Nets 94-82 in game two of their Eastern Conference playoff series. The two-time defending NBA champs took a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series with game three set for Saturday night in New York. “We anticipated this would be a grind,” said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra. “We had to gut this one out.” Dwyane Wade scored 14 points and Ray Allen scored all of his 13 points in the second half for Miami, who have won eight consecutive playoff contests dating back to game six of the 2013 championship series. Eight straight wins equals a franchise record, which they achieved twice before.

Veteran Ray Allen came off the bench to finish with 13 points and eight rebounds in the win in front of a packed crowd of more than 19,600 people at AmericanAirlines Arena. Allen said he has been gearing up all season to be able to contribute to a long playoff run. “This is the part of the season we prepare our bodies for. This is when we start getting better,” he said. “I am built for this. At all times I am ready.” Spoelstra said Allen helped spark the team. “Ray was playing with a great motor. We were getting our best action with him running around,” he said. Mirza Teletovic scored a team-high 20 points for Brooklyn on six-of-nine shooting from beyond the arc. Shaun Livingston contributed 15 points, while Paul Pierce and Joe Johnson added 13 points each in the loss.

Kevin Garnett made his first field goal of the series early in the third quarter and finished with four points along with a game-high 12 boards for Brooklyn. Miami swept the Charlotte Bobcats in four games in round one and now have beaten the Nets two straight. This is the third playoff meeting between the two and Miami has won the first two series. In San Antonio, the San Antonio Spurs continued their run of hot form to trounce the Portland Trail Blazers 114-97 on Thursday and take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven Western Conference semi-finals series. The Spurs, enjoying home-court advantage throughout the playoffs courtesy of the best regular-season record in the league, have won their last three playoff games by an average of 21 points. Portland trailed by 20 points in the second quarter but rallied briefly to cut the deficit to just eight with 5:37 left in the game.

The Trail Blazers, however, were unable to respond a second time after San Antonio regained control on consecutive jump shots by guard Tony Parker and Kawhi Leonard, the latter a three-pointer. Leonard, in his third NBA season, often defers to Parker, Manu Ginobili and forward Tim Duncan, veterans who have won three NBA championships together. Those three, plus coach Gregg Popovich, are trying to get Leonard to shoot more with Popovich saying that newer players needed some time to accept a freedom to shoot.

“Even Timmy (Duncan) deferred when he first came here to David (Robinson) — for about 2-1/2 days,” Popovich said. “David understood who Timmy was. In Kawhi’s case, he’s got three veteran players out there. He has come into his own, so to speak.” Portland coach Terry Stotts said the early San Antonio run had proved too much to overcome. “The onslaught at the beginning of the second quarter was obviously the turning point in the game,” Stotts said. “Boris Diaw during that stretch was making plays that kept that group (of reserves) afloat. Their bench does a great job of coming in and having an impact on the game.” The Spurs were taken to seven games by Dallas in the first round of the playoffs but have suddenly hit form as they head to Portland for Game Three on Saturday.

Results
    1    2    3    4    T
Brooklyn    21    25    21    15    82
Miami    15    30    24    25    94
(Miami lead best of 7-series by 2-0)
    1    2    3    4    T
San Antonio    29    41    17    27    114
Portland    26    25    20    26    97
(San Antonio lead best of 7-series by 2-0)

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