Chaos in Miami!
With a win against Brooklyn on Saturday, the Miami Heat would have clinched a playoff spot. But the Nets made that as difficult as possible, dragging Miami into overtime and defeating them 110-109 in a gritty-as-all-hell matchup.
For the first time in forever, the Nets had a not-so-great first quarter. They notched just 22 points to Miami’s 32, instead using the rest of the game to slowly gain momentum.
In a physical game that saw technicals given to both sides, the Heat’s largest lead came in the first half with a 14-point edge. But as Brooklyn’s bench came to life, Miami showed they were not unbeatable.
The Nets put up a big 32-point third quarter that led the team to take as large as a nine-point lead down the stretch. From there, it was anyone’s game.
With seven Nets in double-digits, Brooklyn showed once again that a balance in offensive contribution leads to success. It was the second straight game the Nets had at least seven players in double figures, which is the first time that has happened since January of 1989.
While Brooklyn’s lead was as large as nine, the team’s offense went cold as time wound down. Miami fought to take the lead back with 1:12 to go, with the Nets going scoreless for about three minutes on the game clock.
Miami’s 18 turnovers gave Brooklyn some second chances down the stretch when the Nets held just a one-point lead, but a pair of airballs from Dinwiddie were not the answer. Caris LeVert, who had a great game and posted a double-double, also could not get a shot down.
Inevitably, the game came down to a free throw battle and some major hustle from Brooklyn. A big stop to a fastbreak by LeVert led to the Nets getting caught up at the other end. It was a tie game, and Miami had the ball with 1.7 seconds left.
Goran Dragic missed a baseline jumper as time expired to send the game to overtime, but the Nets struggled on offense still once they got there.
Both teams traded buckets, and the Nets found their way to the line. After a Joe Harris free throw gave the Nets a three-point lead with a minute to go, the Heat followed that up with two straight shots to take the lead back with 41 seconds left.
Once again, LeVert came up big. As Ian Eagle yelled “Bullseye!,” LeVert got a floater to hit the bottom of the net, getting the lead back for Brooklyn with 35 seconds to go.
And then the rest of the game was complete madness. Bodies were diving, arms were swinging and no whistles were called. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Dwyane Wade both went down, but only Wade returned to the court for the final possession.
With under two seconds left, the Heat got the ball to Wade, but he could not get the ball to go down even with DeMarre Carroll trailing behind him. The Nets rebounded, and that was game for Brooklyn.
That’s back-to-back wins on the road for the Nets, a feat so rare we have barely set our eyes upon it. It was also Brooklyn’s first overtime win of the season after losing the first five, and the Nets also take the season series 3-1 against Miami.
A thriller win to screw up Miami’s seeding for the second year in a row? That’s a bit better than the usual moral victory.
The stats: 20 PTS, 8-16 FG, 1-2 3FG, 3-5 FT, 14 REB, 2 AST, 2 TOV, 2 STL, 1 BLK, 39 MIN
RHJ was a punching bag in the paint tonight, and hopefully he’ll bounce back after going down in overtime. He fought out of the pressure though and came up big on the boards and getting the ball moving again.
He made mistakes, but Rondae was resilient and key on defense, and Brooklyn does not hold on without him.
The stats: 19 PTS, 7-13 FG, 0-3 3FG, 5-5 FT, 12 REB, 7 AST, 2 TOV, 2 STL, 1 BLK, 34 MIN
LeVert was feeling it throughout the game, but his effort with his chase-down block and rebounds were big difference-makers. He also drained what ended up being Brooklyn’s game-winning shot and distributed the ball almost the best he has all season. The Heat could not handle near-triple-double Caris.
The stats: 12 PTS, 4-12 FG, 3-7 3FG, 1-2 FT, 2 REB, 12 AST, 3 TOV, 3 STL, 35 MIN
With D’Angelo Russell stuck on the bench for the majority of the game, Dinwiddie stepped up with his 12 assists. Though he couldn’t make a shot, his playmaking came in handy.
The stats: 13 PTS, 4-9 FG, 1-4 3FG, 4-5 FT, 2 REB, 1 AST, 1 TOV, 1 STL, 27 MIN
Not Joe’s best game offensively, but he wrestled for the ball as much as anybody. He was one part of a strong 66-point outing from Brooklyn’s bench.