The Brooklyn Nets were looking to make a statement that they were one of the NBA’s elite teams, but came up a bit short in a 102-89 loss to the Heat in Miami on Saturday night.
At least it wasn’t a 30 point loss like last time. The Nets showed that they’ve made a lot of progress since then. They were actually the better of the two teams in the first half and lead 59-50 at half time. Then they started showing some fatigue of back to back games and three games in four days. Not having Brook Lopez made things even worse. They started making some mistakes, the Heat capitalized on them, and then they quickly started playing outside their game trying to catch up.
So maybe the Nets aren’t one of the truly elite teams in the NBA. They are still one of the top four teams in the conference and will battle the Knicks and Celtics for the division. This win did show that they can play with the Heat. Hopefully they can take some lessons from tonight’s game, get Lopez back, and really give them a challenge next time.
FILLING IN NICELY: Lopez being out hurt them, but mostly for depth reasons as Andray Blatche has filled in nicely. He had 20 points with eight rebounds tonight. D-Will sets him up for a lot of points, but he makes sure to convert. Still can’t wait to get Lopez back though.
UP AND DOWN FOR D-WILL: There would have been no way Blatche had 20 points without Deron Williams. He shot just 3-of-11 from the floor, but was electric passing with 12 assists. Unfortunately it didn’t last though as D-Will began to fade in the second half and half four turnovers that helped spark the Heat’s comeback.
STACKHOUSE TOO: It was a mixed night for Jerry Stackhouse as well. He helped build up the big lead for the Nets in the first half with nine points in about 10 minutes in the second, but he was over matched in the second half and finished a game worst negative-15 on the night.
WHERE DID YOU GO JOE?: Joe Johnson had a great game against the Magic on Friday, but was off Saturday night and shot just 5-for-14 including 2-for-9 from behind the arc for 12 points. Even three more baskets and this would have been an entirely different game.
TURNOVERS: The Nets 19 turnovers which is the most they’ve committed since the last time they played the heat. Some big names were getting sloppy too as Gerald Wallace, Joe Johnson, and Deron Williams each had four. The Heat only turned the ball over 10 times.
SLOW NIGHT FOR EVANS: Reggie Evans is one of the players who could have been more effected by the fatigue. He played 14 minutes and only got five rebounds.
FREE THROWS: The Nets lost by 13 points which would have been a lot closer, but they missed 10 free throws and shot just 17-for-27 overall.
FREE BROOKS: The Nets scored just 30 points in the second half after they scored 59 in the first. As the game was getting away from them and they struggled to score it was hard not to wonder where MarShon Brooks was.