Recap: Nets 98, Heat 104 - Dwyane Wade Dominates
Just two nights removed from a 23-point blowout loss to the Orlando Magic, the Brooklyn Nets played the Miami Heat to within a single score as late as the one minute-mark of the game, before ultimately falling, 98-104.
In contrast to Monday’s loss, the Nets took better care of the basketball (just six turnovers, compared to 18 against Orlando) and were patient in keeping their heads up and dribbles alive against the more aggressive and trapping Miami defense, shooting 47.2% from the floor. Brook Lopez got off to his customary hot start in scoring 12 points in the first quarter, and eased any concerns as to his effectiveness against the NBA’s shot-blocking leader, Hassan Whiteside, early, in using Whiteside’s over-aggressiveness against him on lobs to the rim and keeping him involved in the high-pick-and-roll game.
The team overall looked more active to open, not only in scoring on their first five shot attempts but in assisting on three of them, and generating clean jumpers off of dribble-penetration. Jarrett Jack’s jump shot was falling in the first quarter, and he combined with Lopez to score 21 of the team’s first 30 points.
Jack would add 10 assists to his 22 points (on 7/14 shooting and eight free-throw attempts), notching his second 20/10 game of the season, while Lopez again led the team in scoring with 25 points (12/16 FG) and six rebounds. Joe Johnson’s shooting issues continued, with a 2/9 night and a game-low minus-nine in 33 minutes, and Thaddeus Young would match his four assists, but with a 4/13 shooting line of his own in 30 minutes.
Without point guard Shane Larkin, who was ruled out due to a concussion, the Brooklyn bench unit saw an appearance from Donald Sloan, who played over 12 minutes and scored five points with three dimes. Andrea Bargnani and Wayne Ellington each played 20 minutes and scored in double figures, and frustrated in their own respective ways (whether it’s Ellington up-faking himself into long-two’s or Bargs’s unrepentant gunning since returning from injury). But it was Willie Reed’s eight minutes of action which supplied perhaps the most entertainment on the evening, as he scored on an offensive rebound put-back, grabbed four boards, and blocked two shots in his limited court time.
For the third-straight game, however, the Brooklyn Nets lost because of their defense, in allowing their opponent to shoot over 50% from the field. The Heat beat Brooklyn in all offensive facets, from the field (53.3% to 47.2%), to the three-point line (+9), free-throw line (+7 points, +10 attempts), and even in points in the paint (46-38).
Dwyane Wade had free reign over Bojan Bogdanovic, crossing him over to get to the basket, posting him up, and even unleashing a 30-foot rainbow to beat the shot clock in the first quarter. In a vintage “DWade”-performance, he finished with 28 points (on 13/17), five rebounds, two assists, three turnovers, and three blocked shots in 30 minutes, and sealed the victory with a floating layup over Brook’s outstretched arms with 43 seconds left in the game, to put his team up two possessions.
The Nets fall to 7-18 following their 98-104 loss to the Miami Heat, and will finally get away from the state of New York, in which they’ve played their last nine games, for Friday’s 7:00 pm tip-off against the (15-9) Indiana Pacers.