Be honest: you never really thought the Nets had a shot in this one. The second game of a back-to-back after an ugly loss, after a late flight to Miami, without one of their rotation wing players and with the weight of knowing they’d lost a teammate for the season… The winning mood just never set in.
Even when the Nets cut the lead to six points in the third quarter, even when they made a late run, it only seemed temporary, and that feeling was further cemented with every Dwyane Wade floater. The Nets fell comfortably behind midway in the first quarter, after the Heat made their first nine shots, and struggled to defend at the rim and on basic pick-and-roll plays. The Heat spread the floor, Dwyane Wade got fancy with and without the ball, and beyond a late run keyed by some Jarrett Jack surprise scoring, the Heat maintained control en route to a victory.
The stats: 15 PTS, 6-11 FG, 14 REB, 1 STL, 1 BLK
First, the good: Lopez did a great job establishing position inside on the offensive end, had another great game on the glass, grabbing 9 rebounds (5 offensive) in the first half alone.
But on the other end? A bit of a disaster. The Heat felt perfectly comfortable putting Lopez in the pick-and-roll blender, forcing Lopez out from under the rim and letting Chris “Birdman” Andersen rack up the dunks.
Putting it all on Lopez’s shoulders is a bit strong, since they often didn’t have enough help defense behind him. But he also left Andersen on more than one occasion seemingly without proper cause, and Birdman had his season-high in scoring before the first half ended, matching his career-high by the buzzer.