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W2W4: Nets vs. Heat

1/10/2014

The Brooklyn Nets seek to improve to 2-0 against the Miami Heat this season Friday night, when the two teams square off at Barclays Center (8 p.m. ET, ESPN). Here’s what we’ll be watching for:

CAN THE STREAK CONTINUE? The Nets (14-21) are undefeated (4-0) in 2014. That’s all coincided with coach Jason Kidd not wearing a tie anymore. It’s also coincided with fantastic defensive play -- the Nets have allowed just 97.4 points per 100 possessions during their four-game winning streak, 9.3 points per 100 possessions less than they allowed in their first 31 games,
according to ESPN Stats & Information.

The Nets beat the two-time defending champion Heat (27-9) by one in Brooklyn’s season-opener Nov. 1. Things have obviously changed since. The Nets had lost 13 straight to Miami before that win. According to ESPN Stats & Information, the Nets have not beaten a defending champ twice in one season since 2002-03 (Los Angeles Lakers).

Deron Williams (ankles) remains out, so Shaun Livingston is going to be asked to step up once again.

GOOD TO BE KING: In 34 career games against the Nets, LeBron James holds averages of 27.5 points, 7.2 rebounds and 7.5 assists on 50.2 percent shooting. Tasked with guarding him will likely be a combination of Paul Pierce and Andrei Kirilenko. It’s going to be a tough a task as there is in the NBA.

The Heat are coming off a loss to the New York Knicks Thursday night. It’s unknown if Dwyane Wade will play in the second half of a back-to-back. Expect them to be motivated. But the way the Nets are playing, would it surprise you if they won?