Monday, April 16, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Heat 101, Nets 98
By Mike Mazzeo
WHAT IT MEANS: LeBron James would not be denied.
James scored 11 of the game's final 13 points, and the Heat rallied from a 13-point deficit to defeat the Nets for the 10th straight time, 101-98 on Monday night at Prudential Center. The Nets haven't beaten the Heat since March 20, 2009.
James, who heard "MVP!" chants all night from the pro-Heat sellout crowd, finished with a game-high 37 points, seven assists and six rebounds. He also shot 11-for-19 from the field and 14-for-15 from the free-throw stripe in his final game ever in New Jersey. He scored the Heat's final 17 points.
Kris Humphries carried the Nets and finished with 29 points and eight rebounds. MarShon Brooks added 24 points, while Gerald Green had all 15 of his points in the second half. Green went 0-for-6 from the field in the opening 24 minutes.
The Nets (22-40) led by as many as 13 in the third quarter. They shot 50 percent.
TURNING POINT: The Heat trailed 96-90 with less than two minutes left. That's when James took over. He converted a three-point play, three layups -- including a left-handed one that gave the Heat the lead for good, 97-96 -- and a pair of free throws to put Miami up 101-96.
STARLESS: Deron Williams, Gerald Wallace and Dwayne Wade sat out with injuries. Williams has a sore right calf, while Wallace is nursing a strained hamstring that has kept him out the last four games. Both are considered day to day, but with just four games left on the schedule, it's unknown if they'll return before the end of the season.
EARLY EXPLOSION: Behind 14 points from Humphries and 11 from Brooks, the Nets tied a season-high with 34 first-quarter points. They allowed the Heat to shoot 70.6 percent in the opening period, but still led by five.
BOLD PLAY OF THE GAME:: Brooks got out in transition and fed Humphries for an emphatic, one-handed slam between two Heat defenders to give the Nets a 48-44 lead in the second quarter. Humphries was fired up after the play, and his teammates rose off the bench in admiration of his effort. Humphries later blocked Udonis Haslem's one-handed dunk attempt in the third.
NEW LOOK: Green and Jordan Williams both made their first starts of the season. The Nets have now started 23 different lineups in 2011-12, the most in the NBA.
WHO'S IN THE HOUSE?: Jay-Z, Beyonce, Victor Cruz, Justin Tuck, Antrel Rolle, D’Brickashaw Ferguson, Bart Scott, Antonio Cromartie, John Conner, Thierry Henry and Bethenny Frankel.
UMMM ...The Nets put on a fireworks display during pregame introductions. It was a nice touch and all, but a grey fog -- which was really smoke -- loomed over the court for the first couple minutes of the game. Did anyone do a trial run beforehand?
UP NEXT: Knicks at Nets, Wednesday night, one final time in the Garden State.