60° Good Afternoon
60° Good Afternoon

Mirza Teletovic, Andray Blatche come up big for Nets

Nets' Mirza Teletovic reacts after hitting a three-pointer

Nets' Mirza Teletovic reacts after hitting a three-pointer against the Miami Heat in the third quarter of Game 3 in the second round of the NBA playoffs at Barclays Center on Saturday, May 10, 2014. Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams, Jr.

Who would have predicted this? Who could have foreseen that Mirza Teletovic, a streaky shooter who doesn't always get a lot of time off the Nets' bench, would emerge as the Heat-slayer and a major factor in the biggest playoff series ever to be played in Brooklyn?

Or who could have predicted this? That reserve center Andray Blatche would be the prince of the paint Saturday night, that there would be multiple instances in which he would outmaneuver a confused-looking Chris Bosh on his way to the hole.

And who could have predicted this -- that the Nets would rebound from their losses in Games 1 and 2 and dominate the Heat, 104-90, in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series at Barclays Center?

OK, maybe one person at the game was not all that surprised by the outcome, that one person being Teletovic, who followed his 20-point performance in Game 2 with a game-turning nine-point third quarter in Game 3.

"Miami, I think this is a good matchup for us," Teletovic said after finishing with 12 points.

This is not an assertion with which Miami coach Erik Spoelstra disagrees.

"They are similar to us. They have different guys who can hurt you," Spoelstra said. "We know who the main guys are for the team, but when guys step out of the box, that does make a difference."

Blatche made a difference by finishing with 15 points and 10 rebounds, including four offensive boards. Teletovic's points all came on three-pointers. He went 4-for-7 from three-point range and grabbed six rebounds in 19 minutes.

"The big thing on this team is that we trust everyone, and when you look at what Andray and Mirza did for us off the bench, it was big," coach Jason Kidd said.

In particular, Teletovic seems to have the kind of confidence that the Nets are going to need to contend with the two-time defending champions. Teletovic never seems to hesitate when he has a chance to fire up a three, which played a big role as the Nets outscored the Heat 26-14 in the third quarter and took control of the game.

"That's what he does. That's the weapon he brings to the table," Kidd said of Teletovic's threes. "He stretches it at the four. We might even have to play him at the five. He stretches the defense. He doesn't lack confidence, and that's what makes him a great player."

Or at least a pretty great player against the Heat.

New York Sports