7:00 PM ET, March 12, 2014
AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami, FL
Jason Kidd isn't half-bad against them, either.
Pierce scored 17 of his 29 points in the third quarter and delivered two crucial scores late, Shaun Livingston created a turnover on the game's final play, and the Brooklyn Nets topped the Heat 96-95 on Wednesday night -- moving to 3-0 this season against the two-time defending NBA champions, two of those wins coming by a single point and the other in overtime.
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"We haven't had any success," Kidd said of Brooklyn's perfect mark against the Heat. "We've just been lucky to win some games."
Maybe, maybe not. In Kidd's past 24 games against the Heat as a coach or player, his teams are 19-5. And this was just the latest entry in Brooklyn's surge, with the Nets now an Eastern Conference-best 23-9 since Jan. 1.
Chris Bosh scored 24 points for Miami, giving him 15,003 for his career. Dwyane Wade scored 22, LeBron James finished with 19 and Mario Chalmers scored 14 for the Heat, who gave up 22 points off turnovers and were hit with two technicals (on Wade and Chalmers) for arguing calls within a 92-second span of the third quarter.
"It's competition," said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, whose team has dropped four of its past five games. "It's survival of the strongest right now. ... We still feel confident about our game. We just need to put it together."
Miami had a chance at the end. Deron Williams missed a jumper with about 8 seconds left, and Wade grabbed the rebound. He took a couple of steps downcourt, then called timeout with 3.5 seconds remaining, and Miami had to burn another one in order to advance the ball into the frontcourt for the final play.
Whatever Spoelstra drew up never got off the ground. Bosh tried to get the ball to James in the lane, but Livingston knocked it away and time expired.
"Losing four of five," James said, "that's pretty bad."
Pierce was 5-for-5 from the field and 3-for-3 from 3-point range, and got fouled on another try from beyond the arc in the third quarter, his biggest-scoring period of the season.
"I'm sure his antenna is raised in games like this, against us," Spoelstra said.
Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports
Paul Pierce was 5-for-5 from the field and 3-for-3 from 3-point range in the third quarter. His 17 points marked his biggest-scoring period this season.
Chalmers made a 3-pointer to get Miami within 84-81 with 6:57 left, but Teletovic -- who hadn't had a double-digit scoring game in exactly a month before Wednesday -- answered from several feet beyond the arc on the next Brooklyn possession to restore a six-point lead.
Miami never got the lead back. Pierce had a 3 to make it 90-86, then a drive to snap a 92-all tie with 1:45 remaining.
"Paul's got too much left in the tank to be a role player," Williams said.
The Nets were without Kevin Garnett (back) and Andrei Kirilenko (ankle). Garnett is expected to miss at least one more game, while Kirilenko tested his ankle in a morning shootaround before the Nets figured he wasn't ready to play.
Miami beat every other team in the league last season and still could repeat the feat this season. The Heat entered Wednesday having beaten 26 of the 29 opposing clubs, the three holdouts being Houston (which visits Sunday), Memphis (which Miami hasn't faced yet) and the Nets, who won the first two meetings against the Heat this season in Brooklyn.
Now they've won in Miami as well, and they are 31-1 when leading after three quarters.
"If we had the answer, we would have won," James said.
The Heat fell two games behind Indiana in the East race, as well as one game behind the Pacers in the loss column. It also was the fifth straight game in which Miami failed to shoot better than 50 percent from the field, and the Nets kept James from getting any shots from the field in the fourth quarter.
"We do need to execute down the stretch," Wade said. "We need to be able to at least get the ball up to the rim, so we're going to have to work on that a little bit. We've got something to work on as a team. That's not a bad thing."
James took a pair of free throws 3:07 into the game. He didn't take any in games earlier this week against Chicago and Washington. ... Joe Johnson had a 22-point first quarter against Miami in January; he was held to eight Wednesday. ... Brooklyn was staying in Miami overnight, a perk since it doesn't play again until Saturday in Washington.
MIAMI, FL - March 12: Chris Bosh #1 of the Miami Heat shoots against the Brooklyn Nets at the American Airlines...(Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images)
Around The Association
MVP: Paul Pierce was unstoppable, with flashes of his vintage self as he scored a big bucket when the game was down to the wire. The Truth finished with 29 huge points, on a super efficient 9-for-12 shooting performance.
X factor: Mirza Teletovic scored 17 points in 16 off-the-bench minutes on 6-for-11 shooting from the field. He even guarded LeBron James successfully for a few late-game stretches, swatting a career-high three blocks.
Defining moment: The Heat were behind by a single point with 3.5 ticks to play. Shaun Livingston deflected an inbounds pass that was directed at LeBron James, who had an open lane in front of him. Livingston's length saved the Nets from a last-second loss.
Next 5 Games
The Nets' bench, paced by Mirza Teletovic's 17 points, outscored the Heat's bench 36-13 Wednesday. The Nets' bench has averaged 29.3 points per game in the teams' three meetings compared to the Heat's 15.0.[+]
Nets vs Heat Bench, Wednesday
Paul Pierce's layup with 1:45 left in the game put the Nets up for good. Pierce pump faked and drove past Dwyane Wade, who had to overplay Pierce's fake because Pierce scored 19 of his 27 points on spot-up shots in the game. Pierce has beaten the Heat with spot-up shooting all season.[+]
Paul Pierce Spot-up Shooting By Opponent, This Season
Since the New Year, the Nets are leading the NBA in turning teams over at 18 turnovers per game and capitalizing on the other end by scoring a league-high 21.2 points off of those turnovers.[+]
Nets Can Thank Their Defense
James failed to shoot a free throw in back-to-back games for just the 2nd time in his career and first time since his rookie season. He has never had a streak of 3 consecutive games without a FT attempt. James is averaging 7.3 free throw attempts per game this season (8th in NBA).
Entering this season, the Nets were 0-9 against the Heat in the James-Wade-Bosh era (since 2010-11), but they have won both meetings this season. The Bulls are the only other team in the NBA to defeat Miami twice this season (2-2).[+]
Brooklyn Nets - vs Heat Last 4 Seasons (Big 3 Era)
The Nets are 22-9 since January 1st, the best record in the Eastern Conference.[+]
Best Win Pct in Eastern Conference - Since Jan. 1st
The biggest improvement for the Nets has come on the defensive end, where they are allowing 7.0 fewer points per game since the New Year.[+]
Nets This Season
From Elias: The Nets were 11 games below .500 entering January and currently sit in 6th place in the Eastern Conference - 8.5 games ahead of 9th place. The last team to make the postseason after entering January 10+ games below .500 were the 1985-86 Sacramento Kings. The Kings were swept in the First Round of Western Conference Playoffs that season by the Rockets. The Nets have posted a 22-9 record since January 1st (.710 win percentage). To put that in context, no team in NBA history entered January 10+ games below .500 and then went on to register a post-December win percentage of .600.[+]
Best Post-December Win Pct - 10+ Games Below .500 Through December
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