(Photo Credit: Nathaniel Butler)
The Miami HEAT dropped their second straight game Friday night, losing 101-100 to the Brooklyn Nets at the Barclays Center. The HEAT once again fell behind early in the game before rallying late. The HEAT return to action Sunday against the Washington Wizards.
Impact Performance of the Night: LeBron James led all scorers with 26 points. He added seven rebounds and six assists as well. James got off to a somewhat slow start but closed strong. He make 11 of his 19 field goal attempts.
The Deciding Run: The game was tied at the half and for the first minute or so of the third quarter was both teams score, but the six minutes or so were rough for the HEAT. The Nets ripped off a 18-2 run to take a 71-55 lead with 4:16 left in the quarter. The HEAT didn’t make a field goal during that stretch, going 0-for-6. The cushion was just enough for the Nets to hold on after a strong fourth quarter from Miami.
Play of the Game: Joe Johnson hit two huge threes late in the fourth quarter. The first came at the 3:57 mark to push the Nets lead back to 11. Then, a minute later he hit another one to push the lead to 12. Those were the last made field goals for the Nets. Both came as a result of a HEAT defender leaving Johnson to help on the ball carrier. The shots were essentially daggers for Brooklyn.
Efficiency Rating: Offensive Efficiency: 105.4; Defensive Efficiency: 104.0
Trend to Watch: Friday night’s game was the third straight game that the HEAT have fallen into a deep hole. The HEAT have been able to bounce back and take leads in all three contests, but it’s not a habit the HEAT want to keep around. The early offense for Miami was a little bit out of sorts, with the usual spacing not in place. To fight off these early holes, the HEAT offense needs to get a little sharper. Philadelphia and Brooklyn each hit some tough shots to start, but the HEAT defense was also half a step slow in their rotations. A tightening up of early offense and defense will prevent the HEAT from falling behind so early and should have a positive impact throughout the rest of the game.
The Takeaway: The loss to the Nets isn’t all that different from the loss to the 76ers on Wednesday night, or any of the early season losses for the HEAT over the last few seasons. The HEAT haven’t played a complete 48 minutes yet, and that’s fine. It’s November and the wrinkles aren’t supposed to be ironed out just yet. Both of this season’s losses have occurred on an opponent’s Opening Night, which are always dangerous entities. Miami will settle into the season in the next few weeks and the wins will rack up. Nothing we’ve seen over the first week of the season changes much for the HEAT. When the postseason rolls around, these losses will likely just be footnotes.
Notes: Dwyane Wade finished with 21 points, five rebounds and four assists. Chris Bosh added 17 points and four rebounds. Greg Oden and Roger Mason Jr. were inactive.