NEW YORK -- The Brooklyn Nets made a huge early-season statement in Friday night's 101-100 victory over the two-time defending champion Miami Heat at Barclays Center. The Nets nearly squandered the 12-point lead they held with 2:47 left, but managed to hang on. Barely.
WHAT IT MEANS: Finally. The Nets snapped a 17-game losing streak to LeBron James, a 13-game losing streak to the Heat and a nine-game losing streak to Miami's Big 3. In fact, the Nets had never beaten James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh before, dropping those games by an average of 17.3 points.
But with the additions of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Jason Terry, Andrei Kirilenko, Alan Anderson and Shaun Livingston, the Nets feel like they can contend with the Heat this season -- and they proved just that Friday night. It may only be the second game of the regular season, but the Nets will take it. That's for sure. It means a lot more to them than it does to Miami.
Pierce had 11 of his 19 points in the third quarter, a third quarter in which the Nets (1-1) outscored the Heat (1-2), 31-20 to take command of the game. Brooklyn led by as many as 16.
SHUT UP, LEBRON: KG and James engaged in a war of words heading into this one. James essentially called KG and Pierce hypocrites for criticizing Ray Allen for leaving Boston for Miami when they left Boston for Brooklyn. KG didn't like that. He told James to mind his own business and focus on his own team. James said he would.
The reigning MVP scored a game-high 26 points on 11-for-19 shooting, saving his best basketball for the fourth quarter (13 points). He had five turnovers -- two of them traveling calls. Pierce, who isn't exactly the biggest James fan, had a huge block on his nemesis late in the fourth.
POSITIVE STEPS: Deron Williams, still getting back to form from a sprained right ankle injury he suffered during an offseason workout in Utah, played 27 minutes -- nine of them in the fourth quarter. He scored 8 points and had 8 assists and 4 rebounds. Kirilenko, making his regular-season debut after missing the opener due to back spasms, made his impact felt, scoring 8 points in 12 minutes.
OTHER HEROES: Joe Johnson (19 points) drilled two huge 3-pointers in the fourth quarter and came through with some clutch free throws in the final seconds to keep the Heat at bay. Brook Lopez (13 points, 6 rebounds) played well before picking up his fifth foul and having to sit for the majority of the fourth quarter. Andray Blatche and Anderson played huge off the bench.
HELLO, BROOKLYN: Garnett, in his first regular-season home game as a Net, flew into the stands trying to save a loose ball with 8:24 left in the third quarter. The fans chanted "KG! KG! KG!" Garnett eventually made it out and was fine.
WHO'S IN THE HOUSE? Mikhail Prokhorov, Magic Johnson, Allen Iverson, Chris Rock, Fabolous, Jadakiss, David Beckham, Geno Smith, Antonio Cromartie and Dee Milliner were in attendance. Iverson, who recently announced his retirement from the NBA, easily got the biggest ovation.
UP NEXT: Jason Kidd makes his head-coaching debut on Sunday night in Orlando. Kidd was forced to miss the first two games of the regular season due to his suspension for DWI.