There were more than a few Heat fans wondering who, exactly, this Mirza Teletovic fellow was on Thursday night.
Teletovic certainly got Miami's attention in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals although his early accuracy from 3-point range wasn't enough as Miami took a 2-0 series lead with a 94-82 win over Brooklyn.
Teletovic actually led all Brooklyn scorers with 20 points, perhaps one reason Miami ended up pulling off the win.
As Teletovic couldn't miss early, point guard Deron Williams couldn't “buy a bucket” as he said afterward. Williams, who averaged 14.3 points this season and scored 17 in Game 1 against the Heat, didn't score a single point on 0-for-9 shooting.
“They put two on the ball and was aggressive. I just didn't make the shots,” said Williams, whose previous postseason low was a two-point game in 2007.
“I had two points against Golden State and that was pretty bad, too. But we won that game. That helps.”
Teletovic helped keep the Nets going early as the second-year forward from Bosnia lit up the Heat from outside — something he’s been known to do on occasion.
A streaky shooter who doesn't always find big minutes off the Nets bench, Teletovic found his stroke against Miami.
Of Teletovic's 15 points in the first half, 14 came in the second quarter as he knocked down four of six from three-point land.
Teletovic didn't get off the bench until late in the third quarter, but as soon as he did, he drained his sixth three-point shot of the night to tie the score at 61. His final points came on a lay-up with 3:39 left.
“Mirza came in and was huge,” Williams said. “It was a big reason we were in the game going into the fourth quarter.”
Teletovic putting up big points isn’t something new, although it sure doesn't happen all the time.
In Brooklyn's Game 5 loss in Toronto in the east quarterfinals, Teletovic scored 17 points. In the final two games of that series, he was held to just two points.
Teletovic, who scored a career-high 34 against Dallas on Jan. 24, scored five against the Heat in this series opener. In three regular season games against the Heat, Teletovic scored in double digits twice and averaged 10 points a night.
“I thought our bench was good with Mirza and Marcus [Thornton],” coach Jason Kidd said. “They came off the bench and gave us an offensive spark.”
Williams said it's a good thing he'll be able to get back at Miami so soon. Game 3 is scheduled for Saturday night.
“I'll definitely be thinking about this,” he said. “The best thing is when something like this happens to put it behind you and come out the next game ready.”
Paul Pierce said although the Nets could have used some points from Williams, they were in a position to make a game of it in the fourth anyway. Miami hitting big three-point shots was more of a deterrent.
“It was a two-point game with five minutes to go and that's where we want to be regardless of who is scoring,” Pierce said. “We are a deep team so it doesn't matter.”
Kevin Garnett, Pierce's running partner in Boston, had another off-night as well. Garnett didn't score in a playoff game for the first time in his career on Tuesday and ended Thursday with just four points.
The series now shifts to Brooklyn where the Nets know they can't afford to lose a game.
“We have to protect our home now,” Pierce said. “We made it tough on them and did some positive things [Thursday] unlike Game 1. We have to get them at home.”