HEATSWEPT: Nets 88, Heat 87 (GAME GRADES)


The Brooklyn Nets CENTER

They did it again. For the first time in the history of the Big 3 era, the Miami Heat were swept in a four-game regular season series.

And somehow, it didn’t feel like it would happen. The Nets just seemed a little… off. Passes were caught, but after flying awry. Shots were contested, but a split-second late. The Nets hit just enough bad shots to stay alive. Rebounds bounced off hands. This wasn’t an emphatic victory by a strong team, but an incredible run by unlikely heroes. Shaun Livingston’s heroics in the last game led to Mason Plumlee’s here.

The Nets will likely be the fifth seed and the Heat the first seed. Let’s just say a second-round matchup between these two teams is in the cards… And let’s hope for it.

Deron Williams POINT GUARD

Committed a costly, embarrassing turnover to end the first half and threw away another in the third quarter. Didn’t attack the basket well and his passes weren’t crisp. Missed two crucial free throws near the end. Other than one sweet pass to Mason Plumlee, a forgettable one tonight.

Shaun Livingston POINT GUARD

Nice slam in the first quarter but didn’t create as much out of the post as you’d imagine outside of hone hook shot in the third and looked a bit nervous throughout.

Joe Johnson SHOOTING GUARD

He is so smooth. Goddamn, is he smooth. Hit shots easily in the first half in midrange and out of the post, and then hit a ridiculously tough floater over LeBron James to keep the lead alive.

Paul Pierce POWER FORWARD

After a quiet first half, Pierce came out firing to start the second. hitting two quick buckets and blocking a shot in the first two minutes, before getting hit with two dubious foul calls to give him four, send him to the bench, and enrage him enough to get a technical foul.

Andrei Kirilenko SMALL FORWARD

More spastic than special tonight: had a few moments of defensive ingenuity, but otherwise didn’t look in sync.

Alan Anderson SHOOTING GUARD

His drives to the basket went nowhere until back-to-back layups in the fourth quarter. You always appreciate a wing player willing to sacrifice his body with impunity.

Mirza Teletovic POWER FORWARD

He loves playing the Heat, and you can tell.

Marcus Thornton SHOOTING GUARD

Sacramento did not warn me how instinctual he’d be defensively. He picked off a couple of easy steals in the first half and rewarded himself with shot attempts. Big threes down the stretch. How did the Nets get him for Evans and Terry again?

Mason Plumlee CENTER

1) DUNK ON BRON
2) PUT IN GAME-SAVING LAYUP
3) SWAT BRON
4) EARN A+
5) EARN ADORATION
6) …
7) SELL ALL THE T-SHIRTS