Good morning, Nets fans and Heat haters. Thank you for your continued support of The Brooklyn Game. I hear Fearza shirts are lovely this time of year. Pick one up in The Brooklyn Game Store! Your support keeps us alive and keeps the legend of Fearza growing.
Here’s everything you need to know about last night’s Nets upset.
What happened: On the NBA’s inaugural Nickname Night, the Brooklyn Nets stunned the Miami Heat, 104-95, in a double-overtime thriller. The Nets have now won five straight games, including four against teams with winning records. They held the Heat to just 6-23 shooting from long range and outrebounded them 49-39 in the victory.
Where they stand: At 15-21, the Nets are now 7th seed in the Eastern Conference and 3 games behind the Toronto Raptors for the Atlantic Division lead.
Where do I start? Seriously, where? This was an incredible game, from top-to-bottom. It had everything: a Joe Johnson smooth outburst. The very best and worst of LeBron James. Paul Pierce vs. LeBron in crunch time. Role players making enormous contributions, including the game-deciding ones. Yes, the Heat were without Dwyane Wade, but the Nets were without Deron Williams and Brook Lopez. This was, without question, the most entertaining game of the season, and perhaps Brooklyn’s biggest win yet.
Undefeated update: The Nets are undefeated in 2014 and undefeated when Jason Kidd goes tieless.
Game Grades: Read ‘em here.
King Frustration: LeBron James had a phenomenal game by the stat sheet — 36 points on 12-21 shooting, adding seven rebounds and five assists — but played frustrated the entire night, eventually fouling out near the end of the first overtime. It was the first time James fouled out in a game since 2008. James told reporters after the game that he felt “a little frustrated” in the first half, apologizing to his teammates at halftime.
Sending a Message: In preseason, Paul Pierce threw his body into LeBron James for a hard foul intended to send a clear message to the league. Friday night, it was Mirza Teletovic who sent that message, wrapping up James with a hard foul that left James screaming in fury and Teletovic — get this — laughing.
Watch the full video of the foul and reaction here.
Mirza Can’t Stop Laughing:
— Mirza Teletovic (@Teletovic33) January 11, 2014
That may be one of the only times where “lol” is actually 100% appropriate.
One of many post-foulout LeBron James Struggle Faces.
Cognitive dissonance: LeBron James on Mirza’s foul: “It was not a basketball play.” Teletovic on the foul: “it’s just basketball.”
S-Swat: I’ve gone criminally long without talking about Shaun Livingston’s exploits, who played a career-high 51 minutes, picked up a double-double with 19 points and 11 rebounds, blocked three shots (two in crucial moments late in the game), and facilitated an offense that shot 46.5 percent against one of the league’s best defenses.
S-Clamation: Livingston put the finishing touches on this win with the team’s final points: a picture-perfect spin move around Norris Cole and a two-hand flush. Watch a montage of his finest plays in crunch time here:
Joe Cool: Joe Johnson exploded for 22 points in the first quarter, hitting his first eight shots, and scoring about as effortlessly as possible. (Watch the highlights here.) With LeBron James on the other side, Johnson was easily the most impactful player on the floor…
…Until: Joe Cooled. Johnson only scored four points in the second quarter, then had to wait until about a minute left in regulation before scoring again. He finished with a bookend 32 points on 14-25 shooting.
My Thoughts At The Half: This is like Cavs-Celtics in 2009. Bosh is Antawn Jamison. Joe Johnson’s jumper is one of the smoothest shots I’ve ever seen.
Third Quarter: The Nets actually won the third quarter by four points, with some valiant efforts on both sides of the ball.
Paul Pierce, Pumped:
Pierce pounded his chest in Garnett-like fashion after drawing a foul on a drive created by — what else? — a big defensive stop by Shaun Livingston. Pierce’s subdued but powerful emotive gesture sent the crowd into a frenzy, particularly that clapping guy behind him with enormous hands.
Jason Kidd Suit Update: Casual Friday. Kidd wore a blue suit and a light blue shirt for the second straight game.
Sacrificial KG: Garnett would rather play center than power forward — “should’ve put that s— in my contract,” he says — but this team’s been incredibly successful on the defensive end with him manning the middle. It’s been a new leaf in the new year for Garnett; he looks incredibly spry given his issues earlier this season, moving everywhere on defense, in the lane, and on screens.
Minutes on minutes on minutes: Shaun Livingston: a career-high 51 minutes. Joe Johnson: 46 minutes. Paul Pierce: 44 minutes. Kevin Garnett: 36 minutes. Expect some guys to get rested tomorrow.
The Rotten Apple: The Heat end their two-game New York City trip with two losses.
Shot Chart Rorschach Test: Joe Johnson: a river running red with opponent’s blood.
King James on Кириленко:
— The Brooklyn Game (@TheBKGame) January 11, 2014
Don’t sleep: How palpable Kevin Garnett’s hate for Ray Allen is… Kirilenko making passes no one else can… How this team might (gulp) actually be better with Shaun Livingston than Deron Williams… Seriously, Mirza Teletovic literally laughing in the face of danger, and how that grin may grow to define his career… Kevin Garnett looking much better at center despite preferring power forward…
Next up: The Nets don’t have any time to rest — they caught a flight to Toronto after the game to face the Raptors today at 7:30 P.M. The undefeated streak may end, if only because everyone is gassed. But after that, they can rest easy — they’ll fly to London from Toronto, where they play just one game in eight days.