MIAMI — Ray Allen’s 3-pointer with 32 seconds left highlighted a huge Miami rally, and the Heat advanced to the Eastern Conference finals by topping the Brooklyn Nets 96-94 on Wednesday night.
The Heat won the series 4-1, and will face either Indiana or Washington in the East finals starting next week.
Miami had not led since late in the second quarter before Allen’s shot from the left wing put the Heat up 93-91. Shaun Livingston tried to answer with 24 seconds left, missing in the lane and Chris Bosh controlled the rebound for Miami.
Allen made a pair of free throws with 21.6 seconds to play, capping a 12-0 run that erased an eight-point deficit.
LeBron James scored 29 points and Dwyane Wade added 28 for the Heat, with Chris Bosh scoring 16 and Allen finishing with 13. James made one of two free throws with 9.5 seconds left to put the Heat up by two, and the Nets almost failed to get a potentially game-tying shot off after Paul Pierce lost it out of bounds, but it stayed with Brooklyn after replay.
And the Nets still couldn’t get a shot away: Allen knocked it away from Joe Johnson as he made his move, and time expired.
Johnson had 34 points, Pierce scored 19 and Deron Williams had 17 for the Nets.
It’s the sixth trip to the East title series in the last 10 seasons for Miami, which is bidding for a fourth straight trip to the NBA Finals — something only the Lakers and Celtics franchises have accomplished.
Kerr spurns Knicks for Warriors
OAKLAND, Calif. — The Golden State Warriors have won the bidding war with the New York Knicks for Steve Kerr, hiring him away from the TNT broadcast table to be their coach.
Kerr agreed to a five-year, $25 million deal Wednesday, said his agent, Mike Tannenbaum.
Kerr had been in talks with the Knicks about becoming their next coach after Phil Jackson took over as team president in March. He won three titles playing for Jackson in Chicago and another two under Gregg Popovich in San Antonio, but has never been a head coach.
Kerr also spent three seasons as general manager of the Phoenix Suns before stepping down in June 2010. He replaces Mark Jackson, who was fired by the Warriors on May 6 after three seasons and back-to-back playoff appearances.
Pistons hire Stan Van Gundy
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — The Detroit Pistons say they have hired Stan Van Gundy as their coach and president of basketball operations.
Owner Tom Gores said Wednesday that Van Gundy is a proven winner and a teacher who can help shape the franchise. Van Gundy says he’s honored to help Gores build the Pistons into a team that competes for championships.
Van Gundy is 371-208 in seven-plus seasons as a coach with Miami and Orlando. He reached the NBA Finals in 2009 with the Magic.
Detroit went 29-53 last season, missing the playoffs for a fifth straight year. That was the end of Joe Dumars’ tenure as team president. Coach Maurice Cheeks was fired in February.