Deron Williams driving to the basket against Miami Heat's Norris...

Deron Williams driving to the basket against Miami Heat's Norris Cole in the second quarter of Game 2 in the second round of the NBA playoffs at AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami on May 8, 2014. Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams, Jr.

Deron Williams tried to simply lay it up as the final seconds ticked away, perhaps figuring that with the outcome essentially decided, at least he finally would dent the scoring column.

But Chris Bosh rejected it.

Easily, too.

It was that kind of night for the Nets' $98-million point guard and that kind of maddening fourth quarter for the Nets, who are staring at a 2-0 deficit in their Eastern Conference semifinal series after beating Miami all four times in the regular season.

With Williams providing no scoring help in one of the season's biggest games, the Nets were no match for the Heat in crunch time. They scored only 15 points in the fourth quarter of Thursday night's 94-82 loss at AmericanAirlines Arena.

A virtual must-win scenario now unfolds for the Nets in Game 3 Saturday at Barclays Center. Teams that have taken a 2-0 lead in a best-of-seven series have won the series 93.8 percent of the time.

"We definitely didn't do a good job of closing out the game on either end of the floor, and that was a big reason we lost," Williams said. "We were in there the whole game, we fought the whole game, just the rebounds definitely cost us down the stretch and then not being able to get a stop."

Or in Williams' case, hit a shot. He played the entire fourth quarter and shot 0-for-3, completing an atrocious display of shooting in which he missed all nine attempts. He finished with seven rebounds and six assists, but it wasn't a good time for Williams to go scoreless for the first time in 60 playoff games.

"They put two on the ball," Williams said. "I was aggressive, I got to the paint. I just didn't hit any shots. I'll still do the same thing as far as when I'm doubled, make the right pass, get into the lane, attack in transition. I just couldn't buy a bucket and didn't get to the free-throw line, either."

Nets coach Jason Kidd, who never publicly rips his players, had nothing but praise for Williams.

"I thought he had some great looks," Kidd said. "Some were just around the rim but the other thing I thought he did well was he set the tone, attacking, getting the ball in the paint; he had seven rebounds and six assists. We look for him to bounce back in Game 3 with making shots, but I thought his overall game, he was really good."

Mirza Teletovic was one of the few players who brought it for the Nets, pacing them with 20 points and nailing six three-pointers, a franchise single-game playoff record.

Kidd tightened his rotation from the 11 players utilized in the series opener, with Andrei Kirilenko mostly the odd man out.

There was a drawback to the Nets' smallish lineup, and it showed at the most inopportune time.

With Miami leading 87-79, the Heat corralled three offensive rebounds off a trio of missed shots by LeBron James, all on the same trip down the floor. James punctuated the backbreaking 1:40 sequence with a running layup with 1:59 left, leaving little doubt the Nets were going to leave South Beach on the wrong end of this one.

"That was a killer," said Joe Johnson, who had 13 points, as did Paul Pierce. "We couldn't come up with the rebound. It's almost as if we didn't have the energy or the effort down the stretch, and I thought we fought so hard to stay within reach."

Miami can really drive a stake through the Nets' hearts Saturday in Brooklyn.

"We've just got to protect our home now," Pierce said. "We've got to figure out what we did wrong here late in this game and try to clean those things up."

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