Nets Fall To Heat 109-106 Despite Late Game Lead
After blowing an 8-point lead with 4:07 left in the game against the Heat at Barclays Center on Sunday one thing is crystal clear for the Nets, they miss the late game closing of NBA champion Kyrie Irving. The Nets fell to the Heat 109-106.
This was a hard fought matchup for both Brooklyn and Miami that resulted in 23 lead changes and 11 ties. However, the Heat fought just a bit harder. Even beyond taking the lead and keeping the lead at the end of the game the Heat flat out outhustled the Nets. They outrebounded Brooklyn on the offensive boards 16-9, which led to outscoring Brooklyn 21-6 in second chance points.
“We’ve been talking about it for 48 hours that we need to take a stand,” said Miami Heat Head Coach Erik Spoelstra. “Particularly on the road and find a game that we have to grind and even if it’s ugly to show the mental toughness.”
A strong first half by Brooklyn led to Miami showing that mental toughness that Spoelstra was hoping to see out of his guys in the second half. At halftime the Nets led the Heat 65-58 and shot 50% from the field. The Heat shot 41.2%. The Nets also dished out 14 assists and grabbed 24 rebounds.
In the third quarter the Heat clamped down defensively and started to hit some shots. They shot 40% from the field and prevented the Nets from knocking down even one three pointer. They attempted six. In the whole quarter they held Brooklyn to just 16 points, and scored 25 themselves.
“I think we finally showed ourselves what we’re capable of when we guard. When you don’t make shots that way that we normally make shots, there’s still a way to win and we have to find that way to win and tonight was a prime example of it,” said Jimmy Butler. “When you play hard and do what’s expected of you good things happen.”
Butler and the Heat playing hard was exactly what happened in the fourth, as they erased a late run by the Nets that involved the heroics of Butler and Justice Winslow being aggressive and getting to the line quite often late in the game.
This ended up being too much for Brooklyn in their first game of December despite going 10-5 in November, which included nine games without Kyrie.
It never really does anything to think about the would have should have could haves, but one could make the argument that with Kyrie on the court to close things could have possibly went differently.
This season the Nets are right in the middle of the pack in close game win percentage at .500, ranked 14 in the league.