Tonight, the Miami Heat defeated the Brooklyn Nets 102-89 in a game where the Nets were in control throughout the first half, but collapsed in the second half. In the first half, great ball movement and team defense propelled the team to a 59-50 halftime lead. However, turnovers, poor three point shooting, and missed free throws plagued the Nets in the second half. The Nets scored only 19 points in the third quarter and 11 points in the fourth.
I thought that the Nets matched up well on two of the three players in Miami’s big three tonight. Andray Blatche played very good defense on Chris Bosh and also had an excellent game on offense. Blatche was the only Net to finish with a positive +/- (+1). Gerald Wallace performed admirable defense on LeBron James in the first half, but James was able to find easy ways to score after halftime and finished with 21 points, 9 boards, and 6 assists. The big, consistent problem for the Nets was Dwayne Wade, who finished with 34 points and 7 assists. Joe Johnson simply could not keep up with Wade. The Nets also struggled to contain Ray Allen, who went 5-7 shooting and was a +20.
Again, the Nets’ offense was awesome in the first half and their defense limited Miami to their worst first quarter all season (19 points). Deron Williams and Joe Johnson were frustrated in the second half though, contributing to bad possessions and giving away turnovers.
Player grades and notes:
Deron Williams: B
Deron Williams shined in the first half. He set up Kris Humphries and Andray Blatche for easy baskets over and over again. Williams finished 12 assists, but once again shot poorly (3 of 12) and finished with just 10 points in 39 minutes. Overall, Williams was not the problem tonight.
Joe Johnson: D
Joe Johnson’s underwhelming performance on both sides of the court was a big problem for Brooklyn. He was beaten on drives by Dwayne Wade and LeBron James and couldn’t hit open threes in the second half, finishing just 2 of 9 from beyond the arc. He also looked lost on offense at times, throwing away bad turnovers. Obviously, the Nets have Johnson signed to a 4 year contract and need him to perform better.
Gerald Wallace: B-
I thought Wallace played solid enough defense and his 9 rebounds helped. However, he also shot badly from the perimeter (1 of 6 from three point territory). Overall, I thought Wallace played fine.
Kris Humphries: B
Humphries was solid tonight, scoring 11 points and collecing 7 rebounds.
Andray Blatche: A-
Blatche may have outplayed Chris Bosh tonight. Dray did a great job defensively on Bosh and went 8 for 12 shooting himself. He finished with 20 points and 8 rebounds, though missed some free throws. Still, quite good for a guy the Nets are paying the veteran’s minimum.
Jerry Stackhouse: C+
Stackhouse missed all 4 of his threes tonight, but scored some awesome 2s in the first half. Towards the end of the second quarter, he drove past LeBron James and finished a layup with authority over Joel Anthony. It had me screaming in shock. Unfortunately, he had the worst +/- of anyone, a -15 in 24 minutes.
The Nets will now have a two day break to think things over, before hosting the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday night. They had a 5 game winning streak heading into tonight’s game that included impressive wins over the Celtics and Knicks. Although tonight’s second half performance was disappointing, the Nets have looked really good recently.