Nets-Heat Preview: Can the Nets Shock the World?


Tonight, the Nets will have another “road” game in Newark when they host the Miami Heat and a bunch of their fans. Like Saturday night when the Nets hosted the Celtics, expect many fans of the opposing team to be seen and heard in the stands tonight. In that game against Boston, the Nets were competitive in the first half, but were unable to hang around in the second half, mostly due to the Celtics’ shut down defense. The Heat beat the New York Knicks yesterday by 8 points behind a balanced scoring effort from Lebron, Wade, and Bosh.

However, the Heat have not actually been playing very well recently. They are only 5-4 in the month of April, which would be excellent for the Nets, but very bad for Miami. The Heat are obviously in the playoffs, but they are a whopping 3 1/2 games behind Chicago for the 1-seed in the East, which is even more surprising because Derrick Rose has missed over 20 games this season. It would take a miracle for them to land the 1-seed, but it might take even more of a miracle for them to fall to the 3-seed. The Nets are tied with Toronto for the 6th worst record in the NBA.

Even though the Nets have been playing better recently, the Heat are another one of those teams that the Nets never beat (it seems like they’ve played a lot of those teams recently). The Nets haven’t beaten the Heat at home in over 3 years and have lost 9 straight overall to the team. The Nets have been bad throughout that time, but the Heat weren’t that good before they got the Big 3. Expect that losing streak to reach 10 games after tonight.

Even though this game is in New Jersey, expect there to be plenty of Heat fans at the game. The last time the Nets hosted the Heat, we were there for the game. We thought it was funny how few Nets fans were at that game and I estimated the breakdown of fans at the game. See those results below:

  • 50% Nets fans. These were the people who were actually rooting for the Nets. Many of them were not very loud because they knew the Nets would have no chance to win and are pretty sick of the team, but I still think this many Nets fans were there. Because of their lack of noise and passion, it was sometimes hard to believe that this many Net fans were in attendance.
  • 30% fake Heat fans. These are people wearing Lebron James or Dwyane Wade jerseys that only began rooting for the Heat after they acquired the Big 3. They usually cheer very loudly for the Heat and are very annoying for fans of the home team. These people live all around the country, and NBA arenas have to deal with them whenever the Heat are in town. The fake Heat fans at the game today are probably from New York and not Miami. They are disgusting, rude, and frontrunners, and I hate them. They are the lowest of the low. Many of these fake Heat fans are women.
  • 10% Knicks fans that also like Lebron James. At any Nets game you go to, there will also be a good number of cheap Knicks fans that don’t want to pay for MSG tickets, but still want to see an NBA game. There were probably an extra number of these people tonight because many of these people would rather root for a team that can beat the Knicks in the playoffs than the Nets. Some of these people also just want to see the greatest basketball player in the world play. I hate these people as well.
  • 5% real Heat fans. Hey, there have to be some real Heat fans, right? These people have rooted for the Heat before the Big 3, and even before the Heat got Dwyane Wade and Shaquille O’Neal. There are not many of these people, but I think there should at least be some? If this rare species does exist, I have respect for them.
  • 2% random businessmen that got free tickets for the game. They are probably sitting courtside or in a suite and are not watching the game.
  • 1% celebrities. Larry Fitzgerald and Melky Cabrera were at the game. I’m sure there were a few other mildly famous people.
  • 1% people that got tickets for free from Deron Williams’s charity and other charities. FRWD deserves some of those tickets.
  • 1% old black guys that just wanna see some basketball. There were some sitting in front of us that came in the second quarter and I like this kind of people.

Key matchups:

Deron Williams vs. Mario Chalmers. Advantage: Williams

Chalmers is having his best season since his rookie year, averaging 10 ppg. However, he is obviously no Deron Williams. The problem for Williams is that Chalmers will not be guarding him. Expect Lebron, Wade, or Battier to stay on Williams. All three of them are very good defenders. Combine that with the sightlines that Deron hates at the Prudential Center and he should have a very bad shooting game. I think he will shoot 35% and score less than 15 points. I think he will have over 10 assists though.

Marshon Brooks vs. Dwyane Wade. Advantage: Wade

Marshon has been up and down his last few games. I expect this to be a down game. Wade is averaging 23 ppg, 5 rpg, and 5 apg and he is the Heat’s closer in close games. But this will not be a close game so it won’t matter. Wade should do most of his scoring in the first half tonight and expect a typical Wade performance.

Deshawn Stevenson vs. Lebron James. Advantage: Take a guess

Remember when Deshawn was on the Wizards and Lebron was on the Cavaliers and Deshawn said that he would shut down Lebron in their playoff series? And even last year, when Deshawn and the Mavericks beat the Heat in the finals? Deshawn might have won those battles, but he is obviously not winning this one. Lebron will show off his talent in the first half tonight and then probably take the second half off to rest. He could score 50 or 60 tonight if he was motivated to, but the Heat played last night and he would rather take half a night off.

Kris Humphries vs. Chris Bosh. Advantage: Bosh

There are tons of Bosh haters out there, but I think he is a very talented player. When he was on the Raptors, I went to tons of Nets-Raptors games and Bosh always impressed me, especially on offense. He can make mid-range jumpers consistently, and if you buy his shot fakes he will kill you and finish at the rim. He is very skilled. The Hump could have a 20-12 game tonight, but it won’t matter. Humphries scored 25 the last time the Heat were in Newark.

Shelden Williams vs. Joel Anthony. Advantage: Who cares?

These teams should just play 4-on-4 without centers. To prove why, I will list every active center on both rosters: Joel Anthony, Eddy Curry, Dexter Pittman, Ronny Turiaf, Shelden Williams, Jordan Williams, Johan Petro. Oh boy.

BONUS: Gerald Green vs. Shane Battier. Advantage: Battier

Even though Battier is having the worst season of his career, I am predicting a huge game from him tonight. The Nets will be scrambling like crazy on defense trying to keep up with Wade and James, leaving Battier wide open for his corner 3’s. I am predicting at least 3 3’s from Shane tonight. Early on in the season, before the Nets got Gerald Wallace, they were terrible at defending the 3-pointer. Expect that pattern to return tonight. We may see more 3’s from James Jones, Mario Chalmers, and maybe even Norris Cole. Gerald Green may be the Nets’ leading scorer tonight, but it won’t matter at all. He will probably take too many shots because of their depleted roster.

As you may be able to guess, my bold prediction tonight is Shane Battier. He will have a big game and kill the Nets with his shooting. Many of my bold predictions have been way off lately (I guess that’s why I call them bold), and for that I apologize. Hopefully, I will land this one tonight. My score prediction is 102-89 Miami, and it won’t be nearly that close. The Heat lead should be over 20 for most of the game, and the Nets will only make the game reasonably close in 4th quarter garbage time, led by Sundiata Gaines. We will be posting live notes for this game as well as a game recap. Make sure to check back at FRWD throughout the night.

Tons of updates to report. For the Nets, Deron Williams is out. Also, Avery is really switching up the starting lineup tonight. It will be Sundiata Gaines, Marshon Brooks, Gerald Green, Kris Humphries, and Jordan Williams. Green and J-Will will be making their first ever starts for the Nets. That seems like a good move from Avery. Unfortunately, we will be seeing a ton of Sundiata tonight. 

For Miami, Dwyane Wade, Shane Battier, and Ronny Turiaf are out. Lebron is a game-time decision, but all signs point to him playing. The Heat are clearly resting their players and don’t care about this game. 

My new bold prediction now that Battier is out is that Gerald Green is going to have huge game. Maybe 30 points. All signs point to this because he is going to be so pumped up for this game. The Nets are playing the best team in the NBA and this is his first NBA start in years. I can’t wait to watch him play. If Deron Williams was playing, I might even pick the Nets to win this game. However, the only point guards the Nets have are Sundiata Gaines and Armon Johnson, with maybe some Marshon experimenting. This should kill the ball movement on offense, and the Nets will still lose this game by a good margin.