Nets fail to close out as Heat take late victory

B-

Final: 12/01/2019

L 106 109

The Nets know close games, and the Nets know how Spencer Dinwiddie can step up down the stretch. 

Sunday evening brought both situations yet again — but not a familiar result. 

After going on 10-0 run in the first quarter, Miami closed out in a similar fashion to steal a three-point win after the Nets led by seven with 1:45 remaining. Jimmy Butler had a strong closeout performance both offensively and defensively, making some clutch free throws to bring Miami over the top. 

It was a disappointing finish for Brooklyn after role players stepped up in both familiar and breakout fashion against a talented Heat team. While Dinwiddie was a scoring machine in the first half, racking up 16 points, Brooklyn was in the picture of a game with 24 lead changes and 12 ties thanks to Joe Harris and David Nwaba providing a needed boost. 

After eight 20+ point games in his last nine, Dinwiddie is known to be Brooklyn’s go-to scorer while Kyrie Irving continues to work towards contact play. Dinwiddie has been Mr. Clutch, but Harris also stepped up with a season-high 25 points and a fiery energy added to the game with each made bucket. 

While Harris can get the crowd on its feet, they also wished his open three-pointer at the top of the key went down to give the Nets a cushion — a great look from a hot hand that just did not fall. The game cannot be placed on that missed shot, or Dinwiddie’s last possession where time ran out, but it showed how the Nets had opportunities down the stretch and could not capitalize. 

A meager third quarter did not help Brooklyn’s chances, either. The offense became sloppy, committing eight of the team’s 12 total turnovers and scoring just 16 points after a 65-point first half. The Nets picked up the pace throughout the first half, and let up on it too early to close things out. 

One area Brooklyn knew it had to be competitive in was rebounding against a skilled team in the Heat. While Miami only out-rebounded the Nets by three, the Heat secured 16 offensive rebounds compared to Brooklyn’s nine. 

Add that to Miami’s 28 free throw attempts compared to Brooklyn’s 16, and the Heat just capitalized more on their chances down the stretch.

With the loss, the Nets drop back to .500 at 10-10 and are 6-4 in their last 10 games. The team will get a bit of a break before its next game on Wednesday against the Hawks.

Brooklyn has played more close games than any other team in the NBA (14), ones within five points with less than five minutes remaining. The Nets have improved on late-game situations, and the second unit gave Brooklyn the foundation to close out, but Miami made the right moves powered by Butler (20) and Goran Dragic (24).

The Nets have improved in late-game situations, but with nearly three-quarters of the team’s contests so far taking place within striking distance in the final moments, the Nets are learning plenty of lessons in Irving and Caris LeVert’s stead. 

Joe Harris

A+

The stats: 25 PTS, 9-16 FG, 5-9 3PT, 2-2 FT, 4 REB, 1 AST, 1 TO, 31 MIN

What might be most disappointing from Brooklyn’s loss was Joe Harris’ big performance going to waste. 

While Harris has been an important piece in Brooklyn’s wins, he has struggled to have the opportunities to reach the 20-point plateau. His finishes in traffic are fun to watch, and he brings the energy with every knockdown three-pointer. 

This was Harris’ best game offensively this season. While he missed his late three-pointer, that was not the reason for the loss. As Kenny Atkinson said after the game, he would make that play 100 times out of 100.

Harris can make a great impact — he just needs the opportunities. With Taurean Prince and Garrett Temple shut down offensively, Harris brought it on Sunday. 

David Nwaba

A

The stats: 10 PTS, 4-7 FG, 1-4 3PT, 1-2 FT, 2 REB, 1 BLK, 18 MIN

David Nwaba is really starting to carve himself a role when he gets his name called on. 

Nwaba brought his physicality against a tough Heat team, driving the ball and giving the Nets a boost. His three-pointer at the end of the first half showed how he can apply his skill set.

As Atkinson said, Nwaba is earning himself more playing time as he continues to make the most of his minutes. And this pirouette move was pretty fun, too. 

Spencer Dinwiddie

A-

The stats: 29 PTS, 10-21 FG, 4-9 3FG, 5-5 FT, 6 REB, 4 AST, 1 STL, 4 TO, 34 MIN

Lather, rinse, repeat. 

The Nets are lucky to have someone as reliable as Dinwiddie with Irving out. He is a guaranteed 20 points nearly every night, and when he has momentum, he can really roll.

Brooklyn fans wish Dinwiddie could have played his final possession better, but if it were not for him, the Nets would not have been that close.

Dinwiddie was also a bit sloppy with the ball in a lackluster third quarter. He could not put up another clutch win, but Dinwiddie continues to adapt to his role and be the clear leader of the team in this stretch.

DeAndre Jordan

B+

The stats: 15 PTS, 7-8 FG, 1-3 FT, 8 REB, 2 AST, 1 STL, 24 MIN

DeAndre Jordan provided good minutes off the bench, and even got a piggyback ride from Theo Pinson. 

Besides the fun he brings to the bench, his offensive performance was needed on a Nets team that has struggled with bench production. Brooklyn also needed his rebounding prowess against a tough Miami interior. 

He also did this. 

While DeAndre gets more run time off the bench, the Nets will continue to welcome a near double-double outing from him. 

Garrett Temple

C

The stats: 7 PTS, 3-12 FG, 1-8 3PT, 6 REB, 5 AST, 1 TO, 34 MIN

Not Garrett Temple’s best outing, especially his 1-of-8 showing from three-point range. Harris made up for his struggles, but Temple left much to be desired in his defensive coverages. 

After strong recent performances, including 22 points against the Celtics on Wednesday, the Nets hope this is just one-off night for Temple. 

(And a 2-of-9 performance from three from Taurean Prince was no help for the Nets, either.) 

News from Around NYC