- Mike Mazzeo, ESPN New York Writer
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That was one costly collapse.
The Brooklyn Nets, the most expensive team in NBA history, had a 91-83 lead with 4:48 remaining Wednesday night. But they couldn’t hold it.
The Miami Heat closed on a 13-3 run and eliminated the Nets from the playoffs with a 96-94 victory in Game 5 at AmericanAirlines Arena.
LeBron James knocked the ball out of Joe Johnson's hands before the buzzer sounded on Brooklyn’s last offensive possession. Before that, it appeared as though Paul Pierce was fouled by James, but there was no call.
Miami won the best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinals playoff series, 4-1.
The Nets will look back and wish they could have back the stretch runs in Games 2, 4 and 5.
What it means: The Nets, who spent more than $190 million in payroll and luxury taxes, now head into the offseason facing several questions. Do Kevin Garnett and Pierce come back? Is it time to explore trading Deron Williams? Can the Nets keep Shaun Livingston, Andrei Kirilenko, Andray Blatche and Alan Anderson?
Joe Jesus: Johnson did everything he could for the Nets on Wednesday night, scoring a playoff-high 34 points, including 24 in the second half. He was Brooklyn’s best player during the postseason. He deserved better. Pierce added 19 points.
D-Won’t: Williams was great for the first three quarters but once again disappeared in the fourth. He scored 17 points on 7-for-16 shooting -- including no points on 0-for-2 shooting in the fourth. He came in shooting just 34.2 percent in the series. This was extremely disappointing showing from Williams given all the franchise has invested in him.
LeBron factor: James had 14 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter. He had just 15 points and five turnovers through three quarters. But the Nets could not contain him when it mattered most. James came in averaging 30.3 points on 59.7 percent shooting in the series. Dwyane Wade added 28 points.
Stat of the night: The Heat went 1-for-16 from 3-point range in the first half but turned it around by going 8-for-13 from downtown in the second half. A 4:30 drought without a field goal killed the Nets late.
Up next: The offseason.
That was one costly collapse. The Brooklyn Nets, the most expensive team in NBA history, had a 91-83 lead with 4:48 remaining Wednesday night. But they couldn’t hold it.