Friday, January 10, 2014

Nets win five straight; Cool off the Heat 104-95

Photo credit: Jim McIsaac
The Nets, coming off a big win against the Golden State Warriors, welcomed the Miami Heat to Brooklyn for the second time this season. It was a defensive grind for both teams, but the Nets came out on top in a double overtime game, beating Miami 104-95. It was the Nets' fifth straight victory, and their second victory over Miami this season.

If you missed the first quarter, I express my deepest condolences. It was Joe Johnson versus LeBron James throughout the quarter as Joe put up 22 first quarter points on 9/10 shooting while LeBron responded with 16 first quarter points on 5/6 shooting. The rest of the players on the court were pretty much invisible to these two, but it's okay because to say they were both "feeling it" would be the understatement of the year. The Nets out-scored Miami 33-32 in the quarter.

The second quarter didn't quite live up to what the first had to offer, but boy did things keep on rolling. It wasn't the offense in the quarter that made it impressive. It was on the defensive side of the ball where the Nets put in the work. This is a refreshing sight for the fans.

We saw a completely different defensive team in the second quarter, as the Nets out-scored Miami 20-13. Brooklyn forced Miami to turn the ball over four times in the quarter and a total of seven times in the half. Frustration was mounting high for LeBron, and his body language told us just that. This was a dominant half for the Nets, as they held a 53-45 lead at halftime, but they needed to finish this one off strong in the second half to come out with a huge win.

I bet I know what you all think is coming next. "The Nets fell apart in the third quarter and Miami took the lead." HA! Nope. The Nets continued to play fantastic basketball on the defensive side of the ball, but the offense was just okay. Brooklyn built the lead up to 12 through three quarters as they took the third quarter as well, out-scoring Miami 23-19. Kirilenko played a huge part in the Nets' defensive effort, but it was a total team effort on that end of the court through three quarters.

Troubles began to arise for the Nets in the fourth quarter as Miami started it off on a 15-5 run, cutting the Nets' lead down to just two. Things got scrappy when Mirza Teletovic was called for a flagrant-1 foul on LeBron James, who took exception to it and got in the face of Mirza, who just smiled at the fuming LeBron James. Though the Nets controlled the pace for the first three quarters, Miami picked it up in the fourth, resulting in that run to start the quarter. The Nets kept with the pace, and the teams ended up headed to overtime after Paul Pierce missed the potential game-winner.

The Nets played enough good defense in the fourth quarter to send LeBron James to the bench for good, as he fouled out for the first time since 2008. Norris Cole tied the game up at 93 with three seconds left, and once again, Paul Pierce missed the potential game-winner at the buzzer, sending the game to double-overtime.

It was all Brooklyn in the second overtime with LeBron James riding the bench for the rest of the night. The Nets started the second overtime on a 9-0 run, and the defensive intensity was at a whole new level. The Nets out-scored Miami 11-2 in double overtime, leading to a 104-95 win.

Shaun Livingston was the standout player tonight, putting up 19 points and grabbing  11 rebounds while blocking three shots. Joe Johnson put up 32 points, dished out five assists, and grabbed four rebounds. Paul Pierce added 23 points and five rebounds. Kevin Garnett would throw in 12 points and 10 rebounds of his own.

Final Score: 104-95 NETS
Most Disappointing Stat of the Game: NONE
Promising Stat of the Game: Shaun Livingston playing 51 minutes!
Scariest Moment of the Game: Miami taking a fourth quarter lead.
Best Moment of the Game: Mirza Teletovic laughing in LeBron's face. 

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