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Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Starting Five: Takes a team to stop LeBron

By Mike Mazzeo

NEW YORK -- LeBron James has killed the Brooklyn Nets throughout his career.

Although the Miami Heat is 0-2 against Brooklyn this season, James is averaging 31 points on 57.5 percent shooting in those meetings.

LeBron James; Paul Pierce
Can the Nets hold LeBron James under 20 points on Wednesday?
He has scored 20 or more points in each of his last 22 games against the Nets, the second-longest streak of 20-point games versus the Nets in franchise history, according to ESPN Stats & Information. The only player with a longer streak is Michael Jordan, who scored 20-plus points in 39 consecutive games against the Nets from December 1984 through April 1995.

As Deron Williams said, guarding James has to be a team effort. It can’t just be one guy.

That’s pretty much how the Nets have been able to turn their season around, using that next-man-up mantra. And that’s how they’ll have to approach Wednesday night’s game in Miami, the seventh straight game in which they won’t have Kevin Garnett, who continues to be bothered by back spasms.

The Nets have gone 5-1 without Garnett in the month of March, however.

Their March stats (with NBA rank):

Opponents turnovers: 22.7 (first)
Steals: 13.7 (first)
Points per 100 possessions allowed: 97.0 (second)
Rebounds for: 31.7 (last)
Rebounds against: 45.0 (tied for fourth most)
Rebound differential: 13.3 (second worst)

Question: How do you expect the Nets to fair against the Heat on Wednesday night?

In case you missed it: KG is out and Andrei Kirilenko is questionable, while the Nets are looking to match the Heat’s intensity.

More stats (courtesy ESPN Stats & Info): The Nets went 0-9 against Miami’s Big Three (James, Wade and Bosh) prior to this season, losing by an average of 17.3 points in those games. ... Joe Johnson is averaging 25.5 points on 60.6 percent shooting in two games against the Heat this season. ... Paul Pierce is putting up 21.0 points in two games against the Heat, well above his season average of 13.2 PPG (a career low).

Up next: Nets at Heat on Wednesday night at AmericanAirlines Arena (ESPN).