A tie game with two minutes to go – have the Nets been here before? It was a familiar sight, but the result was something Brooklyn has not seen at home in five games and three overall – a win. More than that, it was a come-from-behind win, 101-95, against a Miami Heat team that came into Friday night having won eight of its last 10 games.
The Nets were once down 16 points to the Heat in the third quarter, but Caris LeVert was the one that put the Nets in the lead after a 14-0 Brooklyn run and eventually made the biggest shots of the game to extend the Nets’ lead.
That 14-0 run was big for Brooklyn, capping off a quarter in which the team out-scored Miami 24-16. The quarter started with the feeling of Miami taking over and ended with Brooklyn having the momentum.
The biggest difference-maker of the night was DeMarre “Hustle” Carroll, who was absolutely locked in each second he was on the court. His five-point run in the fourth quarter gave the Nets an 89-86 lead with 4:17 to go.
Bodies flew and players took turns coming up with the big play. Joe Harris forced a steal sliding belly-first to the ground and Spencer Dinwiddie drove to the rim to get his shot to go down.
James Johnson tied the game at 91 with two minutes to go. This has been a familiar sight for the Nets recently, but Dinwiddie made his move with confidence on a driving one-handed flush.
Follow that up with a pretty Caris LeVert up-and-under play, and the Nets held a four-point lead with 57.1 seconds left in the game. Next, a LeVert pull-up in the paint was even more clutch, and what put the Nets in the lead to finish out the victory.
It was LeVert’s moment. He had 10 of his 12 points in the fourth quarter, hitting his 1,000th career point along the way.
Not a bad time to come alive.
What brought the Nets back was a focus on defense and shutting down production in the paint, as well as moving the ball. Recording eight blocks on the night, led by Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Allen Crabbe who had two each, the Nets tried to put a stop to the machine of Hassan Whiteside, who finished the night with 22 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks.
Whiteside nearly had a double-double in the first half alone as he exploited Brooklyn’s weakness in defending big men. After a closely-played first quarter, the Heat put up a 29-point second quarter to hold a steady 10-point lead over the Nets.
After turning the ball over seven times in the first quarter and giving up fast break points, the Nets curbed that habit, committing just seven after that. Still, the Heat dictated the pace until Brooklyn’s second-half takeover.
In his return coming off the bench, D’Angelo Russell did not have the best start, missing his shots and turning the ball over. He made a difference in the third quarter, though, supplying some assists to fuel Brooklyn’s comeback. He finished with one point, two assists and two turnovers in 14 minutes, missing his five shots. The rust is there, for sure.
This was a big win for a Brooklyn team, though, that has been unable to break through as of late. Carroll’s performance did not go to waste in a team-effort of a comeback. From veteran to the bench, everyone had a role.
That’s what it’s about for Brooklyn.
12 PTS, 4-12 FG, 1-6 3FG, 3-4 FT, 4 REB, 5 AST, 1 TOV, 3 STL, 1 BLK, 27 MIN
LeVert could not get much going until the fourth quarter, and that was the best timing the Nets could have asked for. Shots that were hitting the rim all night suddenly started falling for LeVert, and he set his teammates up nicely throughout the game.
The finish. The closer. The man.
26 PTS, 9-12 FG, 3-5 3FG, 5-5 FT, 6 REB, 1 AST, 1 TOV, 2 STL, 1 BLK, 31 MIN
Tying a career-high 26 points, Carroll was all over this game. His shot was confident, he got his way in the paint and the stole the ball in big moments. His impact on the game can’t be understated – he gave the Nets a shot to come back and the win came to fruition.
Thanks for the big-time player, Raptors.
12 PTS, 4-5 FG, 2-3 3FG, 2-2 FT, 1 REB, 1 AST, 1 TO, 23 MIN
Joe Harris did not shoot too much, but when he did he was a clear threat to Miami’s gameplan. He missed just one shot but his sliding deflection in the final two minutes was big-time. Harris let other players take over on offense and he still made his presence known on defense, and that was a good combo in the fourth quarter.
15 PTS, 6-12 FG, 1-5 3FG, 2-2 FT, 6 REB, 4 AST, 4 TOV, 29 MIN
Welcome back, clutch time Dinwiddie. He had the vision and the moves to extend the lead in make-or-break moments. His offense has been lacking, but it felt like he broke through that barrier against the Heat. Now that Russell is back, that could be good timing.