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Saturday, May 10, 2014
W2W4: Nets vs. Heat, Game 3

By Mike Mazzeo

NEW YORK -- The Brooklyn Nets need to be a “desperate” team in Game 3, Joe Johnson said. They better be. The Nets trail the Miami Heat 0-2 in the Eastern Conference semifinals. The series shifts to Barclays Center on Saturday night. Here’s what we’ll be watching for:

Backs against the wall: History says this series is already over. The Heat are 6-0 in these 2014 playoffs and have never lost in the LeBron James-Dwyane Wade-Chris Bosh era when leading a series 2-0 (6-0). The Nets, on the other hand, are 0-4 in playoff series in which they trail 2-0. Only 6.2 percent of all teams (16 of 258) that trailed 0-2 have ever come back. So, yes, Saturday night’s game is a must-win for the Nets. No team in NBA history has ever come back from 3-0 (0-109).

Get D-Will going: Deron Williams went scoreless for the first time in his playoff career (60 games) in Game 2. According to ESPN Stats & Info, Williams is averaging just 10.6 points in Brooklyn’s five playoff losses with an 8.7 PER. In its four wins, Williams is averaging 20.5 points with a 20.7 PER. Williams needs to come out in attack mode and get some early offense for himself.

Make LeBron work: LeBron James is averaging 22.0 points on 57.6 percent shooting so far. He hasn't had to do much. Wonder when he’ll go for 30-10-10, if he even needs to. Paul Pierce defended James well in Game 2, holding him to 3-for-8 shooting.

James by defender so far this series (ESPN Stats & Information): Mirza Teletovic (4-for-6); Pierce (4-for-9); Kevin Garnett (1-for-1); Andrei Kirilenko (1-for-1); Andray Blatche (1-for-1); Mason Plumlee (1-for-1); Shaun Livingston (2-for-6); Alan Anderson (1-for-3); Joe Johnson (0-for-1); Transition/open (4-for-4).

Stats alarming: Points per game: Heat 100.5, Nets 84.0; Points per game in the paint: Heat 43.0, Nets 30.0; Field goal percentage: Heat 53.1, Heat 44.6; Free throw percentage: Heat 82.4, Nets 58.1

Things we wonder: Will Kevin Garnett get going? Will Nets coach Jason Kidd go small-ball minus a center again? Will the Nets be able to play a complete, 48-minute game?