WHAT IT MEANS: The basketball gods must hate the Nets. On Monday they lost Brook Lopez, who had just returned to the lineup, for at least three weeks to a sprained right ankle. On Tuesday, playing without Lopez, they were throttled by the Heat, 108-78. The worst part: Eddy Curry played the final 5:56 and had an alley-oop jam. That’s cold.
Not that the Nets would've beaten the Heat with Lopez anyway, but they've been decimated by injury all season. For the record, the Nets did lead 7-2. At the end of the first half, though, they faced their largest first-half deficit this season, 27. From there it was just bookkeeping. The Nets (12-27), who trailed by as many as 40, have only had one winning streak this season (Jan. 25-27, two games).
TURNING POINT: The Nets got within 24-17 when Deron Williams connected on a 16-footer with 2:49 left in the first quarter. LeBron James countered with a 15-footer to make it 26-17. Williams was hit in the abdomen by James and checked out at the 2:06 mark. By the time D-Will checked back in with 10:07 remaining in the second, the Heat were ahead 39-17.
57-16: Williams scored a franchise-record 57 points on Sunday night in Charlotte. Miami’s defense is a little better. The Heat bottled up New Jersey’s only real viable offensive weapon not named MarShon Brooks, doubling the All-Star point guard on many possessions. Williams still finished with a team-high 16 points in 25 minutes. He needed 47. He also added four assists and shot 7-for-13 from the field.
STATS OF THE NIGHT: Miami’s Big 3 had 39 points in the first half. The Nets had 37. The Heat shot 70 percent in the first quarter, a season-high 65.9 percent in the first half and had 19 assists in the opening 24 minutes. James, Wade (who left the game with a tweaked right ankle) and Chris Bosh combined to shoot 24-for-33 from the field. Then they sat on the bench in their warmups for the fourth.
PLAYS OF THE GAME: Wade’s no-look layup turned three-point play in the first quarter that gave the Heat a 10-9 lead. It will be one of SportsCenter’s top plays. And if that wasn’t enough, James banked one in from half court at the end of the third quarter. Also, who could forget about Johan Petro’s 3-pointer in the final minute?!
UP NEXT: Nets vs. Clippers, Wednesday night, 8 p.m.