NETS STUN HEAT: Nets 104, Heat 95 (GAME GRADES)


Jason Terry POINT GUARD

He is really, really tough to watch.

Paul Pierce POWER FORWARD

Truth got better and better as the game progressed, up until the last shot opportunity in regulation, when he just barely rimmed out a potential game-winning shot over LeBron James at the buzzer, and the last shot opportunity in the first overtime.

Give him credit for sacrificing his body on a few possessions and hitting shots in the third quarter.

Shaun Livingston POINT GUARD

Incredible, incredible effort. Huge efforts defensively, blocking Ray Allen multiple times and drawing LeBron James’s sixth foul. Excellent job facilitating the offense throughout, and hanging around for easy opportunities and potential rebounds off the ball. His length puts him at an immediate advantage over Norris Cole and other guards, and he used it to his full advantage.

With 51 minutes logged, Shaun Livingston spun effortlessly around Norris Cole and flushed a two-hand jam, putting the icing on the cake. An absolutely fantastic game from one of the league’s great redemption stories.

Andrei Kirilenko SMALL FORWARD

It seems like he has magnets in his hand designed to attract every loose ball. I feel like a broken record talking about Kirilenko, but it’s all the little things: the way he plays the baseline, the way he throws loop passes and bounce passes that evade defenders, how he can bring the double-team to a guy like LeBron James and then shuffle away just as quickly.

Did an incredible job guarding LeBron in the fourth quarter and sneakily grabbing rebounds in traffic.

Kevin Garnett POWER FORWARD

The Big Ticket looked especially spry on defense, particularly when Ray Allen was within ten feet of him, and hit his shots. He’s done a great job at center with Lopez out and the team playing small around him. Looking gassed in double-overtime, he still Looks like a new Kevin Garnett in 2014.

Alan Anderson SHOOTING GUARD

Double had some decent defensive possessions on Ray Allen but is in a real shooting rut right now. Didn’t hit his first bucket until overtime.

Joe Johnson SHOOTING GUARD

JJ came out torching the Heat, putting up 22 points in the first quarter alone and finishing the half with 26:

That was the last we heard of Johnson until 1:03 in the fourth quarter, when he hit an isolation floater to put the Nets up 89-88, because of course Joe Cool waits until everyone’s blood pressure is hitting atomic levels before he smooths his way to the basket.

Johnson scored again on an obvious goaltend by Chris Andersen, which is the weirdest clutch basket of his Nets career.

Andray Blatche POWER FORWARD

Give him credit for (mostly) staying around the rim on offense after his incredibly bad airball. Had one interesting moment in the third quarter where he passed up a semi-contested floater in the lane to hit Shaun Livingston for a dunk. Still can’t defend a pick-and-roll to save his team.

Mirza Teletovic POWER FORWARD

A+ for laughing in LeBron James’s face after committing a flagrant foul on him. The game doesn’t matter. I don’t condone violence, but I absolutely condone mind games on the court, and holy Fearza, that was as good as it gets.