Nets forward Mirza Teletovic stepping up against the Heat

Mirza Teletovic
Mirza Teletovic has been one of the pleasant surprises for the Nets this season.
Credit: Getty Images

After making four more 3-pointers Saturday in Game 3, Mirza Teletovic described one of his initial conversations with head coach Jason Kidd once training camp began in October.

Kidd told him he knew what he was capable of even if Teletovic did not see consistent playing time last season and that they will be needing his 3-point shooting.

Teletovic’s presence behind the arc was felt in Games 2 and 3. The Nets made a franchise playoff-record 15 3-pointers in Game 3 and Teletovic made four of them in 19 minutes. He hit seven in 26 minutes while keeping the Nets in Game 2 before fading in the fourth quarter.

Even though the Nets are trailing in the series, Teletovic is 11-of-19 from 3-point range in this series. He joined the select company of Stephen Curry, Paul George and Damian Lillard to make at least four 3-pointers in consecutive postseason games this year and is the fourth reserve in the last six postseasons to accomplish the feat (J.R. Smith in 2009, Jason Terry in 2011 and Ray Allen in 2013).

“There’s no time for mistakes. There’s no time for errors,” Teletovic said after Game 3. “It’s the playoffs. You’ve got to bring it.”

Teletovic was just 8-for-32 against Toronto. Teletovic did not make a 3-pointer in four games in that seven-game series.

It would be natural to think those struggles served as some sort of motivation for Teletovic but he pointed to his international experience. Teletovic played 10 seasons in Europe, including six in the Spanish ACB league. Teletovic pointed to his resume of clips on YouTube at the morning shootaround.

“Miami’s going to run us off the three and you’ve got to be able to finish and not just settle for contested threes,” Kidd said before Game 4. “When you talk about Mirza, he’s not just a 3-point shooter, he’s a basketball player. He can make plays for his teammates and also take the twos. What he’s done in the last two games behind the arc has been very good for our team but we understand the Heat aren’t just going to let him shot threes.”

As for defending him, the Heat are aware that merely hoping for a missed shot is not an acceptable mindset, especially this time of year.

“Hope doesn’t win you a lot of playoff games,” Miami head coach Erik Spoelstra said. “He’s [6-foot-9], so he can get it off above your normal close out. We looked at all the threes and, yeah, you can look at it [as] that’s good enough. In this series, it’s not. So it has to go to go to another level. We’ve faced great shooters before where we’ve had to make adjustments.”

Follow Nets beat writer Larry Fleisher on Twitter @LarryFleisher.



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