On Saturday night, the Nets were defeated by the Miami Heat by a final score of 102-89.
The Skinny: Neither team scored a bucket for nearly two minutes to start the game, but an 11-0 Nets run, in which they dominated on both ends of the floor, helped Brooklyn establish the early lead. The Nets displayed great ball movement, as they had eight assists – five by Deron Williams – on 11 first-quarter field goals, and led by eight after one. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh combined for just five points in the quarter for the Heat.
After a night off against the Magic, Jerry Stackhouse came out with a hot hand to start the second quarter, helping the Nets increase their lead to 14. James and Wade began heating up, which helped the Heat close the Nets’ lead to five. Joe Johnson responded with seven straight Nets’ points to put Brooklyn back up 10, and the Nets closed out the half with a nine-point lead. Brooklyn’s frontline of Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries and Andray Blatche combined for 30 points and 15 rebounds in the first half.
The Heat came out with some momentum to start the third quarter, as Wade continued to score, but the Nets got right back on track to maintain a comfortable lead in the early minutes. But Miami caught fire at both ends, orchestrating a 17-5 run to lead by four after three quarters. The Nets had six turnovers in the third after just seven in the entire first half.
Brooklyn could not gain any ground to start the fourth, even with Wade and James on the bench. The Nets struggled from the field and with turnovers, which precluded any feeble attempt of a comeback.
High Scorers: Wade led all scorers with 34 points on 14-of-20 shooting and added seven assists. For the Nets, Blatche led the way 20 points on 8-of-12 shooting and grabbed eight rebounds.
Key Stats: After shooting 52 percent in the first half, the Nets shot just 2-of-15 in the fourth quarter (13 percent). Brooklyn only managed 30 points in the second half, the lowest total in any half this season.
Who Was Hot: James scored 21 points, pulled down nine boards and dished out six assists. Ray Allen and Norris Cole scored 13 and 12 points for the Heat off the bench, respectively. For the Nets, Deron Williams notched a double-double with 10 points and 12 assists. Wallace finished with 13 points and nine rebounds.
Who Was Not: The Nets shot just 17-of-27 collectively from the free-throw line.
Fun Fact: Humphries and Bosh were on the 2002 U.S. Junior World Championship Qualifying Tournament team, where they won a bronze medal.
Jim Mancari, ContributorThe Nets cruised through the first quarter in this one, holding the Heat to a season-low 16 points. But in the NBA, they play four quarter. With the loss, Brooklyn’s winning streak was snapped at five, and the Nets have now lost 12 straight games to the Heat dating back to 2009.
The Heat, winners of six straight, showed why they are the defending champions in the second half, stifling the Nets on the defensive end on capitalizing on the offensive end.
This was definitely a big test for the Nets, and they responded nicely for half the game. Fatigue must have set in in the second half of the second game of back-to-back games.
Turnovers in the second half and 19 total for the game really killed the Nets in this one. Still, this was a much more respectable showing than the 30-point loss the Nets suffered to the Heat in the third game of the season. Ironically, the Nets had 19 turnovers in that game as well.
Wade was unconscious for the second time this season against Brooklyn. The Heat are now 8-0 in games that Wade has scored at least 15 points. Miami retains its spot atop the Eastern Conference and has yet to lose at home this season.
It will be interesting to see the next time these teams play, especially if Brook Lopez is back in the lineup. Maybe the third time’s the charm for the Nets?
After the loss against the Heat, Brooklyn (11-5) returns home to Barclays Center Tuesday to play the other team from last season’s NBA Finals: the Oklahoma City Thunder. The 7:30 p.m. game will be televised on the YES Network.
Jim Mancari is a Contributor to SNYNets.com. Follow him on Twitter @JMMancari.