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Brooklyn Nets Hobbling Along; Lose to Miami Heat 95-83

Brooklyn Nets Guard Deron Williams Brooklyn Nets Guard Deron Williams

After returning home from a 0-3 West coast road-trip against the Golden State Warriors, Phoenix Suns and the Portland Trailblazers, the Brooklyn Nets hosted the ailing Miami Heat and delivered a dud. The Brooklyn Nets extended its losing streak to four, as the Heat prevailed 95-83.

The Nets regressed to (4-6) overall on the season while the Heat improved to (6-5).

Dwyane Wade Who?

The Heat star and 3-time NBA World-Champion missed his third-straight game due to a hamstring injury along with F Josh McRoberts who is also ailing with a blister on his left toe.

It didn't matter.

Lebron James didn't suit up because he is sporting another jersey.

Even free-agent signee Luol Deng was out with a wrist injury.

In their place, G Mario Chalmers, and Forwards Danny Granger and Shawne Williams were promoted to the starting lineup.

You would think the Nets should be able to take care of a Heat team missing their sizzle with Wade and other significant pieces collecting DNP's right?

The casual NBA fan would expect that these injuries would take away from the competition aimed in the Nets direction but in reality, the Heat gave the Nets all they could handle for the duration of the 48 minutes of play.

They showed up with the intent of ruining the first game of the Nets two-game homestand and they succeeded.

In the first half the Nets shot well from the field and from behind the arc, shooting 45% and 44% respectively.

Deron Williams led the charge getting off to a hot start from the field scoring the first seven points for the Nets in the first quarter complimented by backcourt mate Bojan Bogdanovic, the leading scorer at the half with nine points.

The first half featured a back & forth affair which favored the Nets as they entered the intermission period with a five-point advantage 43-38, courtesy of Bogdanovic converting a layup off of a feed from Williams.

Early on, things looked good for the Nets.

The Fans were into it, the Nets held multiple leads and life was good.

That was until the second half arrived in which the Nets forgot that there were two more quarters left to play because that's how they responded.

They were lethargic; passive, slow and unable to make shots.

They could've used the energizer bunny tonight.

The Brooklyn Bunch went with the flow and were unable to sustain their effort from the first half to the second.

The arrival of the second half triggered the Heat, as they answered the shortcomings of their poor shooting start (37.1% in the first half) in making a surge of their own.

It was an exhibition of the Heat's bench that took control of the second half proving why they can be a dangerous team in the East when healthy.

Former UConn Huskies two-time NCAA Champion G Shabazz Napier's play gave us flashes of why he was one of the best guards entering the 2014 NBA Draft, torching the Nets from deep, connecting on three of six three-point attempts for a bench-high 11 points.

Heat swing-man James Ennis provided highlight reel material converting plenty of dunks for the pleasure of the crowd as well as the many Heat fans in attendance, contributing 10 points.

The Nets didn't just have a bad third quarter, they had a bad second half.

The Heat outscored the Nets in the second half, 57-40.

What happened?

It all started in that third quarter.

With the Heat down 51-49 with 7:03 remaining, G Norris Cole delivered a three, giving the Heat a slight advantage up by one, 52-51.

Cole's three led to a 12-4 run in which the Heat and their offense peaked and never looked back.

The Nets offense just wasn't there and the weapons at their disposal misfired on too many occasions.

The NBA is a game of runs and the Nets had countless opportunities to change their fortunes in the fourth and deciding quarter.

With 5:45 remaining, Nets G Williams was sent to the charity strike and sank 1-2 free throws as the Nets deficit shrunk to four, 78-82.

The Nets would miss their next three field goals which translated to additional opportunities for the Heat in which they seized full-control of their fate and the game for good.

Bosh's 20 foot jump-shot improved the Heat's lead to six, 78-84, and Chalmers provided the icing on the cake with a 4-foot floater and two made free throws as the lead ballooned to eight, 88-80 with 1:58 remaining till the end of regulation.

Game, set and match.

The Nets had no answer especially from those of whom you would expect to come to the rescue with the game hanging in the balance.

Joe Johnson shot 2-9 from the field for six points in 36:41 minutes of play.

That's not enough.

Brook Lopez shot 2-8 from the field for five points in 21:37 minutes of play.

That's not enough either.

Role players Jarrett Jack and Mirza Teletovic showed signs of life combining for 26 points, scoring 15 and 11 respectively.

The only player on the roster who showed up for the Nets was Bogdanovic who poured in a team-high 22 points.

The victors boast five players in double-figures with G Mario Chalmers and Bosh leading the way scoring 22 and 15 respectively.

"It was a good win," said Chalmers following tonight's match-up. "Everyone did what they had to do."

Indeed.

If only we could say the same about the Nets.

"It's Just a tough loss," said Joe Johnson in the Nets locker-room after the game. "Defensively we had a lot of miscues, especially in the fourth."

Did they?

All I know is that once Johnson decided to express himself last week with comments regarding the team along the lines of "selfish play", the Nets have struggled.

They are 0-4 post Johnson's cry for obviously more touches.

Something internal is wrong with the team and the results are revealing.

Head Coach Lionel Hollins is also concerned with his team's production.

"It's been a concern since the beginning," says Lionel Hollins during his post-game press conference.

"I have to be patient myself, and we got to keep growing and growing and growing."

Hollins continued, "You know, for me, I want it to be done right and right away, but I'm also smart enough to understand-been around long enough to understand-that it takes time."

Just the mood in the locker-room alone was telling of the state of the Nets at this point in their season.

Johnson and Plumlee left immediately after briefly speaking with the media.

Jack also left without any communication with teammates.

The lights were dim although all of the lights were on if you catch my drift.

Hollins stated that the Nets have to keep growing. Right now growing doesn't seem to be in the Nets vocabulary.

The Nets will host Milwaukee in the second game of their home-stand and then embark on a three-game road trip challenging the hobbled Oklahoma City Thunder, the defending champions in the San Antonio Spurs and the Philadelphia 76ers.

If the Nets fail to fix their internal problems quick, this season can turn into a distant memory soon and very soon.

The Nets are no better than their cross-town counterparts in the New York Knicks and that is saying something.

Wins can heal and melt the Nets problems away.

They need one immediately.