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Heat Edges Out Nets for a 95-91 Win

Brooklyn Nets center Mason Plumlee talking with the media Photo Credit: Alexis Williams/What's The 411 Networks Brooklyn Nets center Mason Plumlee talking with the media

Mason Plumlee Has Good Game Despite Nets Loss

Despite the most recent trade rumors surrounding the Brooklyn Nets big three of Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez, the Nets have been fairly focused on the immediate task at hand, which involves winning games.

They are not in the basement; but the thought is that Nets management feels that this culmination of talent, specifically, bringing in Williams and Johnson to join Lopez has been a failed experiment and perhaps, demolition is the best possible direction to pursue.

And, tonight's game results didn't help.

Winners of two straight, the Nets returned home from a one game road-trip win against the Charlotte Hornets, and were unable to continue their good fortunes tonight falling to the Heat, 95-91.

At the 1:47 mark in the first quarter, the game was delayed because of a ceiling leak over celebrity row at the Barclays Center. There was some talk after that perhaps the leak had an unsettling effect on the Nets.

The Nets are now three games below the .500 mark at (10-13) on the season, while the Heat improved to (12-13), one game below the .500 mark.

This is also the second straight win for the Heat against the Nets this season. The last two meetings are scheduled for January 4 and March 11 in Miami. Hopefully, Miami in the winter will have a better effect on the Nets.

In a game where Chris Bosh received a DNP due to a strained left calf, the Nets caught a break and failed to take advantage.

The injury bug also affected the Nets as Lopez was out with a lower back strain.

With Bosh's injury, you would expect that the Heat would need the other member of the Big 2 in Dwyane Wade to carry the Heat offensively, and early on Wade delivered.

Through the first fie plus minutes of the first-half, Wade accounted for all of the Heats first 10 points converting all of his shots from the perimeter.

Wade would enter the intermission period leading both teams in individual scoring with 17 points at the half.

Although Wade found early success on the offensive end, the Heat's early double digit lead, which they enjoyed throughout the duration of the first half, stemmed from the depth of their bench.

Chris Anderson, Mario Chalmers, Shawne Williams, and Shabazz Napier all had their moments and combined to score 22 points, as the Heat led at the half 55-45.
As far as the home-team, Mason Plumlee, in the starting line-up for Lopez did not disappoint scoring 13 first-half points converting 6 of 8 shots around the rim.

Opposed to Miami's bench, the Nets found minimal help from their reinforcements; Mirza Teletovic, Alan Anderson, Bojan Bogdanovic and Jarrett Jack totaled 11 points heading into halftime.

Fortunately for the Nets, two more quarters remained, in which they would seek out the solution in cooling off the Heat.

In the beginning of the third, D. Williams and Co. found that solution.

During the first four minutes of play, the Nets orchestrated a 12-3 run behind baskets made by Kevin Garnett, Plumlee, Sergey Karasev, and Johnson. They cut a 10-point deficit to one, trailing the Heat 57-58.

At this point, I, along with the rest of the crowd figured that the Nets would continue their push and eventually take control of their home-court.

The Heat responded with a run of its own.

Sharpshooter Shawne Williams connected from behind the arc seconds before the conclusion of the third quarter as the Heat built another double digit lead. The Heat entered the 4th quarter 76-66.

Somehow, someway the Nets organized a series of plays which led one to believe that they could re-write the script of their fate in tonight's affair, but one play down the stretch made the difference.

After Wade's turn-around jump-shot assisted by Chalmers found nothing but net to give his pals a 92-83 advantage with 2:16 remaining in the 4th, I thought the Nets chances in possibly securing a win were slim-to-none.

And then this happened.

Plumlee's two points made at the free-throw line brought the Nets closer, 85-93, and a feeling of life.

Then, a Plumlee steal, leading to a three-point shot by Johnson, added a spark. Suddenly, the Nets are now within five, 88-93 with a minute left till the end of regulation.

And a missed 3-point attempt by Luol Deng allowed the Nets to inch even closer as Bogdanovic drained a three in the corner, on one of D. Williams' 11 assists, pulling the Nets to within a basket, down 91-93 with 35.1 seconds remaining in the 4th.

Fans were energized, feeling that the Nets have come too far, albeit late in the fourth to lose this one, but that's exactly what they did.

Once again, the Heat made just enough plays to break the Nets spirits and leave Brooklyn, 2-0 this season.

The Nets couldn't catch that one break they needed to put them over the hump and here is the play that spelled the difference in tonight's game.

The Heat are up two with 35.1 seconds left so it's pretty obvious who would receive the ball in this situation to ensure a Heat victory.

None other than the 3-time champion in Wade, who missed a three point attempt only for Deng to hall in the rebound in which Bogdanovic was called for.

Game, set and match.

Wade scored a team-high 28 points complimented by Deng who recorded 18 of his own.

For the Nets, Plumlee, in Lopez's absence compiled 21 points supported by a solid 15 points and 10 assists performance by D. Williams and 16 points from Johnson.

Despite the Nets poor shooting in this game at 39% from the field, they still had a chance at the end to prevail. Nets Head Coach Lionel Hollins has the answers for his team's struggles this season.

"You have to be a good team," Hollins said during his post-game press conference.

"Were struggling to be that right now," Hollins continued. "We're trying to be. We're working at it, we've made progress, but we're not there yet."

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Brooklyn Nets head coach Lionel Hollins talking with the media.

And who could argue with that statement?

Even Johnson agreed with his head coach in expressing his own assessment of tonight's context during his post-game interview with reporters in the Nets locker room.

"I just think we're only helping each other sometimes on defense, night-in and night-out, and it hurts us," Johnson said to the media.

"Our pick-and-roll defense was pretty good, but we gave up a few easy baskets tonight and we have to do better."

Joe-Johnson

Brooklyn Nets shooting guard, Joe Johnson

Reviewing the game's stats, I believe the Nets lost this game because they could not neutralize the Heats bench.

Wade will get his and is capable of getting his on any given night and it was up to the Nets to figure out how they could corral Wade along with the rest of the Heats supporting cast tonight.

The Heat's bench out-scored the Nets bench, 35-24.

Chalmers, S. Williams, and Napier all scored in double-figures registering 10, 10, and 11 points respectively.

What's even more crucial in tonight's loss for the Nets is the road ahead.

In the next two opponents, the Nets will travel north of the border to take on the Atlantic Division leading Toronto Raptors and then towards the mid-west to compete against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Raptors are winners of their last three games while Cavs are 8-2 in their last ten games.

If that isn't convincing enough, the Raptors are 19-6 while the Cavs are 14-9.

Kyle Lowry is emerging as an elite point guard in the NBA and Lebron James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love are catching their stride in Ohio.

That's why the Nets needed this game.

A loss tonight could translate into a three-game losing streak over the next couple of days for the Nets.

"We need to go up there and get a win," said Plumlee regarding the next opponent in the Raptors.

"Whatever we have to do doesn't matter; we just need to get a win."

Ya think?