The Brooklyn Nets continued their struggles against good teams Wednesday night. Against the defending NBA champion Miami Heat, Brooklyn lost 105-85 after getting outscored by 22 points in the third quarter. The game was tied at halftime. Brooklyn was led by newly-selected all-star Brook Lopez, who scored 21 points to go along with 7 rebounds. For Miami, Lebron James had 24 points, 9 rebounds, and 7 assists, while Dwyane Wade chipped in 21.
The Nets didn’t get off to a good start in this game. They struggled in the first quarter where they were outscored 30-20 and Deron Williams had 0 points. They turned the game around in the second quarter led by 10 points from Andray Blatche. In the second, they had some nice offensive sets and didn’t have many turnovers. Brooklyn managed to tie the game at halftime, 49-49. As we have seen many times this year, the third quarter destroyed Brooklyn tonight. Although they had a brief lead towards the beginning of the quarter, the lead quickly disappeared after a long, extended, dominant run by Miami. The Heat ended up outscoring the Nets 36-14 in the quarter to put the game completely out of reach. The Nets had too many turnovers in the quarter and after Lebron only scored 9 points in the first half, he had 10 in the third quarter alone. The Nets briefly put their starters in at the start of the fourth but soon realized that the game was over and brought in the bench.
The Nets obviously had a lot of problems in this game. The two biggest ones were rebounds and turnovers. Against one of the worst rebounding teams in the NBA, Brooklyn was outrebounded 38-34 and also allowed Miami to get 13 offensive rebounds. That is unacceptable against a team as bad at rebounding as Miami. Turnovers were also a big issue. The Nets have had turnover problems recently and we knew heading into this game that if they continued that the Nets would struggle to stay in this game. The Nets had 19 turnovers tonight and that was far too many to have a chance at beating Miami.
It’s not too surprising that Brooklyn lost this game. The Heat were obviously excited to come play in Brooklyn for the first time and this was not going to be one of those games where they don’t show up. The Nets finish the season 0-3 against Miami, which could be a possible second round playoff matchup for the Nets. All 3 losses were blowouts and if the teams do meet up in the playoffs, Brooklyn will need to figure out a different way to compete with this team.
For a box score of this game, click here.
Player grades and notes:
Reggie Evans: C-
Before this game, Reggie made comments saying that the Heat were just another team and that players like “Joe Johnson and Andray Blatche” are just as good as Lebron. Evans’s play did not help the Nets tonight. The Heat had way too many offensive rebounds in this game and that nearly took Brooklyn out of the game in the first quarter. Reggie only had 6 rebounds in 20 minutes and he struggled on defense.
Gerald Wallace: C
Gerald Wallace still can’t make a layup. He did have two big dunks in the first quarter, but he did nothing else. He finished with only 6 points and did not play great defense on Lebron James, but I can’t blame him for that.
Brook Lopez: A-
Lopez was the one Net player who played pretty well tonight. After finding out he would be heading to Houston for the all-star game before this game, Lopez finished with 21 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 blocks. He was a key part of the Nets’ comeback in the second quarter, but his defense was also one of the reasons why the Nets collapsed in the third.
Deron Williams: D
Deron Williams had flu-like symptoms before the game and he played like it tonight. He only had 9 points and 5 assists in 34 minutes in this game and did not play nearly as aggressive as he had been in previous games. His turnovers were also killers. He had 6 of them and many of those led to easy fast break opportunities for Miami. Hopefully Deron will recover from this flu quickly and be ready to go and aggressive on Friday.
Joe Johnson: C+
Joe Johnson had 16 points and a season high 6 assists tonight, but only shot 4-15 from the field. JJ also had 4 turnovers which hurt. He did have one killer crossover on Chris Bosh in the first quarter that the bench was very excited about.
Andray Blatche: B
Blatche had a nice second quarter but didn’t do much else in the game. In the second, he shot 5-5 for 10 points and was actually outscoring Lebron James at halftime. He finished the game with 12 points and 6 rebounds.
The schedule does not get easier for the Nets as they will host the team with the best road record in the NBA on Friday, Chicago. This will also be an important game for playoff positioning in the eastern conference. FRWD will have full coverage of the game.