Jason Kidd (far) and Erik Spoelstra (near) go head-to-head tonight. (AP)

Jason Kidd (far) and Erik Spoelstra (near) go head-to-head tonight. (AP)

The Brooklyn Nets and Miami Heat face off for the fourth and final time this season, with the Nets looking to pull off something remarkable: a sweep over the defending champions. Tonight looks a bit different than their first three matchups: For the Nets, center Kevin Garnett will sit out to rest on the first half of the back-to-back, while the Heat will be without guard Dwyane Wade.

The Nets are in the midst of a tough playoff race: as the fifth seed, they're 2.5 games back from the division and the fourth-seed Chicago Bulls, and 2.5 games ahead of the sixth-seeded Washington Wizards. With just six games to play, every win could inch them closer to an unlikely home-court advantage.

But how do the Nets match up with the defending champion Miami Heat? Let's take a look. Tipoff at 8 P.M. EST.

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Shaun Livingston, Miles Plumlee

Shaun Livingston & the Nets flew past the Phoenix Suns in Brooklyn. (AP)

Hello McShelvin. Happy St. Patrick's Day, and Thank you for your continued support of The Brooklyn Game. After you've recovered from your safe and responsible night, pick up a new shirt over at The Brooklyn Game Store. Your support keeps us alive. Thank you!

Here's a roundup of last night's Nets festivities.

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Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce, Joe Johnson (AP)

Paul Pierce called out the Nets after their 101-94 loss to the Washington Wizards, imploring them to play with a sense of playoff urgency in the last month of the season:
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Drew Gooden

Drew Gooden had a lot to celebrate in Washington, D.C. (AP)

Hello Doug. Thank you for your continued support of The Brooklyn Game. If you want to keep TBG going, consider making a donation in the form of buying yourself a sweet shirt from The Brooklyn Game Store. Your support keeps us covering everything Nets. Thanks!

Here's a roundup of last night's Nets festivities.
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Alan Anderson, Marcus Thornton

The Nets beat the Sacramento Kings behind a red-hot Marcus Thornton. (AP)

Hello Walt. I understand if this team is breaking you. But thank you for your continued support of The Brooklyn Game. I swear to you that they're not bad. Pick up a shirt at The Brooklyn Game Store and get it cleaned at Lavandería Brillante. Your support keeps us cooking. Thank you!

Here's an early roundup of last night's Nets festivities.
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DeMarcus Cousins

It's a whole new game since the last time these two teams played. (AP)

BY SAM LACHOW

Brooklyn Nets

Breakdown

Sacramento Kings
30-30 Record 22-40
6-4 Last 10 Games 5-5
102.8 Points scored per 100 possessions 103.9
104.0 Points allowed per 100 possessions 106.4
94.1 Possessions per game 96.8
45.0% Field goal percentage 44.9%
35.9% Three-point percentage 34.1%
47.2% Rebound percentage 51.4%
15.4% Turnover percentage 15.5%
Joe Johnson (15.1) Top Scorer DeMarcus Cousins (22.3)

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Kevin Garnett, Thomas Robinson

The Nets continue their west coast trip against the Portland Trail Blazers tonight. (AP)


 
BY SAM LACHOW

Brooklyn Nets

Breakdown

Portland Trail Blazers
26-28 Record 39-18
6-4 Last 10 Games 5-5
103.0 Points scored per 100 possessions 108.6
104.6 Points allowed per 100 possessions 105.3
97.9 Possessions per game 98.0
45.1% Field goal percentage 45.0%
36.5% Three-point percentage 38.1%
47.7% Rebound percentage 51.6%
15.4% Turnover percentage 13.8%
Joe Johnson (15.2) Top Scorer LaMarcus Aldridge (23.9)

Projected starting lineup:... MORE →

 

Paul Pierce, Jason Collins

Jason Collins (right) on the bench with Paul Pierce. (AP)

A couple minutes into Jason Collins’ first appearance for the Nets on Sunday, my wife said what has become a common chorus, “Why is this such a big deal? It shouldn't be.”
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One of the biggest criticisms from real human beings about the Brooklyn Nets signing Jason Collins is that the team wouldn't know how to handle a gay athlete, that players would just flat-out be uncomfortable with an openly gay teammate. That's fully on display right here, when Collins hits the ground hard after trying to get a rebound and his teammates scatter away in fear that they might...

Oh, wait. No, correction: Alan Anderson, Deron Williams, and Andrei Kirilenko, three of Collins's Nets teammates, immediately rush over to help him up off the floor. It's almost like whether or not he's gay doesn't affect the fact that he's a professional basketball player and teammate.

What's also worth noting: the three teammates that helped Collins up all come from widely different backgrounds; Anderson was born in Minneapolis and attended school in Michigan, Williams went to high school in The Colony, Texas, before going to school in Illinois, and Andrei Kirilenko was born and raised in Izhevsk, Russia.

Collins played 11 minutes in a mundane debut.