Wednesday, March 12, 2014
W2W4: Nets at Heat
By Mike Mazzeo
The Brooklyn Nets are one of only two teams -- the Chicago Bulls being the other -- to have beaten the Miami Heat twice this season. They’ll try for a third win against the Heat on Wednesday night at AmericanAirlines Arena (7 p.m., ESPN). Here’s what we’ll be watching for:
Out for revenge: Brooklyn (32-20) is 2-0 versus Miami (44-17) this season. Both of those wins, however, came at Barclays Center. The Heat are just as hot as the Nets at home right now, having won six straight there. Brooklyn has not recorded a road victory in Miami since Feb. 1, 2008 (0-8). That’s not to say it’s an impossible task, necessarily, but the Nets may find themselves four games back of Toronto again by night’s end. The Raptors (35-27) host the hapless Detroit Pistons (25-39).
Team effort: LeBron James has scored 26 points and 36 points in his first two meetings against the Nets this season, while shooting 57 percent from the field. Shaun Livingston is certainly a candidate to draw the extremely difficult assignment of guarding James. But, as Deron Williams said, it’s going to take all five guys on the floor to contain the four-time MVP. The Nets have held their opponents to fewer than 100 points in each of their past seven games (6-1). According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that’s the longest current streak of its kind for any NBA team. The Nets are 26-10 this season when limiting their opponent to fewer than 100 points. Williams, by the way, has registered at least one steal in his past 12 games -- one game shy of the longest such steal streak in his career, Elias says.
Walking wounded: Kevin Garnett (back) will not play for a seventh straight game, and Nets coach Jason Kidd told reporters that Garnett is also likely to miss Saturday night’s game as well. Andrei Kirilenko was ruled out less than an hour before tipoff, and will miss his second straight game due to a sprained right ankle.