The Brooklyn Nets defeated the Miami Heat in Miami tonight, 96-95, and are now 3-0 against the two time defending champions this season. The game was close throughout and was tied 92-92 late in the fourth quarter. A Pierce driving lay-up put the Nets up 94-92 and a Deron Williams jump shot gave the Nets a 96-92 lead, which was just enough for Brooklyn tonight. The Heat had a chance to win the game, inbounding the ball with 3.5 seconds left and down by 1 point, but Shaun Livingston deflected the pass intended for LeBron James and by the time the loose ball scramble ended, the final buzzer had sounded.
Paul Pierce and Mirza Teletovic both had very big games for Brooklyn. Pierce exploded in the third quarter, scoring on three’s, lay-ups, and foul shots. He finished with a game high 29 points. Teletovic nailed a numbed of effortless-looking three’s, his most notable three pointer coming midway through the fourth quarter with LeBron James in his face. This has to be Teletovic’s best performance on national television so far as a Net. Even though Pierce and Teletovic had great scoring outbursts, the story of the game could be the Nets’ defense and rebounding. They forced turnovers from the second quarter until the end of the game and managed to out-rebound the Heat, despite the fact that their starting center, Kevin Garnett, missed tonight’s action with a nagging back injury.
Miami’s big three were all very efficient and effective tonight, although James got off to a very slow start. Chris Bosh might have had the best game among the three, especially considering his clutch And-1 lay-up to cut the Nets’ 96-92 lead to just 1 with 30 seconds remaining.
This win launches the Nets into 5th place in the Eastern Conference because the Washington Wizards lost to Charlotte tonight. This is the highest the Nets have been seeded thus far this season. The Nets are a half game ahead of the Wizards now. The Toronto Raptors won, maintaining their three game lead over the Nets for the Division lead. The Nets are 1.5 games behind the Chicago Bulls for the fourth seed.