Miami, FL – Miami, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - Paul Pierce keyed the Brooklyn Nets to another narrow triumph over the Miami Heat.
Pierce netted 17 of his 29 points in the third quarter and the Nets topped the Heat, 96-95, on Wednesday night.
The Heat had possession of the ball following a timeout with 3.5 seconds left, but Shaun Livingston knocked away a pass that was intended for LeBron James in the paint to seal the outcome.
Brooklyn is 3-0 against Miami this season. The Nets edged the Heat 101-100 on Nov. 1 as part of their 5-14 start and then prevailed 104-95 in double overtime on Jan. 10. Dwyane Wade did not suit up in the second meeting for Miami.
Pierce is averaging 23.7 points in those three wins.
The Nets have won seven of their last eight and own the Eastern Conference's best record (23-9) in 2014.
Pierce was 9-of-12 from the field, 5-of-7 from beyond the arc and 6-of-7 from the foul line for Brooklyn, which hadn't beaten Miami during the "Big 3" era (0-9) prior to this season.
"This is the class of the league. This is the two-time defending champions and we're coming down the stretch. These games are big," Pierce said.
Mirza Teletovic netted 17 points off the bench, while Livingston added 13 points, seven rebounds, four assists and three steals in the triumph.
Chris Bosh had 24 points and seven rebounds, Wade provided 22 points and James supplied 19 points, seven assists and five boards for Miami, which has dropped four of its last five games.
"We still feel confident about our game. We just need to put it together," Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said.
The Heat trailed 87-81 right before the midway point of the final frame when Teletovic nailed a deep right wing triple. Five straight points from Miami cut the gap to one, but Pierce knocked down a big trey to extend the margin back to 90-86 with 3:44 left.
Bosh hit a three and Wade split a pair of foul shots to cap a mini 6-2 swing and tie the game at 92-92 with 2:02 to play. Pierce drove in for a layup at the other end and Deron Williams sank a left elbow jumper to make it 96-92 in favor of Brooklyn with 35.8 ticks to go.
Bosh's three-point play again trimmed the deficit to one, but the Heat were unable to execute a game-winning play after Williams was off on a step-back jumper.
Earlier, the tilt was knotted at 22-22 after a quarter of play and 42-42 at the break.
Pierce knocked down all three of his 3-point attempts and was a perfect 5-of-5 from the field in the third as the Nets headed into the fourth with a 73-71 advantage.
The Nets scored 22 points off 17 Miami turnovers ... Brooklyn shot 43.6 percent (34-of-78) from the floor and 41.4 percent (12-of-29) from beyond the arc ... James turned the ball over five times.