Rain Delay, Missed Layups, Untimely Fouls; Nets Fall to Miami


“You have to be good enough to win multiple games. … You’ve got to be a good team, and we are struggling to be that right now. We are trying to be, we are working at it. We’ve made progress. But we are not there yet.” – Lionel Hollins

All the potential momentum that the Nets had gained over two dominating wins this weekend was washed away in Brooklyn last night as they fell to the Miami Heat, 95-91. After a lengthy delay caused by a leak in the roof, Brooklyn faced a double digit deficit by halftime to a depleted Heat roster.

Granted, only Chris Bosh and Josh McRoberts ended up not playing for Miami but this game was mainly dominated by the Heat. Dwyane Wade, who was not expected to play Tuesday night, played, very well as a matter of fact. Wade took over the game from the inset and built a sizable lead for his club throughout the majority of the night.

Weeks prior, the Nets lost a game in a similar situation as a depleted Heat roster able to beat Brooklyn in a game that wasn’t close either. Last night, they were presented with an excellent opportunity to achieve their longest win streak of the season (three) and couldn’t cash in. Brooklyn had minimal resistance getting off open looks from beyond the arc, the only problem was their severe inability to make them.

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The Nets were 3 of 9 on wide open three’s last night which has ultimately led to their downfall on Tuesday night. Miami was able to cash in from deep as Brooklyn struggled, especially Deron Williams and Mirza Teletovic. Combining to go 2-8, paired with Joe Johnson’s frustration from inside the arc were significant factors in the loss. Ball security, which plagued the Nets in the first half, was the guiding force behind their first comeback in the third quarter. Brooklyn came out strong after halftime and quickly shaved the lead down to a one-possession game.

Forcing turnovers and limiting their own, Brooklyn were in striking distance for an extended period of time. Unfortunately, they were unable to get over the hump and grab a lead in the second half. Their play became sloppy once again in the closing minutes of the game, allowing Miami to build another double-digit lead on the strength of accurate shooting and generous foul calls.

In addition to the Luol Deng traveling vine, this was not the only instance in the fourth quarter when the refs obliged to blow the whistle. But that’s beyond the fact of the matter. The Nets had plenty of chances to overcome the lead but were turned away due to their sub-40% shooting performance and nine missed free throws. This doesn’t include the two major miscues that occurred in the last forty seconds in the 4th quarter.

Seconds after Bojan Bogdanovic drained a three pointer to cut the lead back down to two. The rookie got tangled up on a boxout with Luol Deng after a Dwyane Wade miss to bail out the Heat after what seemed to be an empty possession on an excellent defensive stand by the Nets. After Deng sank the pair of free throws, only eleven seconds remained when Jarrett Jack caught an inbounds pass with the entire lane to himself. Hoping for a quick score to cut the lead back down to two and extend the game, Jack’s easy lay-in went long and clanged off back iron to seal a disappointing loss for Brooklyn.

On a lighter note, it wasn’t all bad on Tuesday night. The game began with a touching, heartfelt and fitting tribute to passionate Nets’ fan Jeffrey Gamblero. Barclays Center honored him with a video montage while the Nets wore shirts with Gamblero’s name and number colored in neon during warmups and on the bench in an appropriate gesture.

Other news included the sustained dominant play of one Mason Plumlee. The second-year center out of Duke nearly posted a career high in points with 21 and was a rebound short of attaining his third straight double-double. In his past four games, all of which he has started, Plumlee has averaged 14.5 points and 10 rebounds per contest. Certainly a strong sign for the Nets going forward is Brook Lopez continues to be hampered with his back injury. Sergey Karasev also played well before bowing out to an injury late in the game. He will not play tonight against Toronto, who will be out for blood after their crushing loss to Brooklyn in the playoffs last May.

Go Nets.