Regardless of the clear foul Mason Plumlee should have been called for as he “blocked” LeBron James on the final play of the game, the Brookly Nets are a very big problem for the Miami Heat, proving it once more by sweeping the season series with a 88-87 win.
Complaints, demands, all of that doesn’t matter. The Nets walked away from Miami with their fourth win this season over the Heat, who looked bad and slow for most of the game when it wasn’t LeBron James trying to score. James finished with 29 points, 10 rebounds and 6 assists, but the Heat couldn’t get their passing game going thanks to some smart defending from the Nets but mostly very cold hands from the Heat’s shooters during the game, hitting only 7 of their 24 attempts from beyond the arc.
The final play is what everyone talked about. James made his way to the basket, looking like it was going to be a clear dunk that would have given the Heat the lead, down by one point at the time. Mason Plumlee went up high for the block but seemed to catch James’ hand instead. You didn’t really need a replay to see that, but no one reviewed the call, and the Heat went down with another loss.
The Nets enjoyed some awful defending from Miami in the final quarter, and also in the first. The Nets playing slow basketball and slowing down the Heat’s offense seems to be working, although three of their wins this season against them have come with a one point margin, which means this really isn’t some dominant stretch that has to do with superiority, and there’s quite a lot of luck involved in the matter.
It looked like the Nets decided on letting James push the ball into the paint and worry more about stopping his teammates. The Heat did get open looks from the outside, but shot poorly, including Bosh with 0-of-4 from three and James himself, also missing all three of his attempts from beyond the arc.
Joe Johnson had a good performance with 19 points, Marcus Thornton who gets hot and then cold in a matter of days scored 16 points off the bench and Paul Pierce wasn’t as dominant as in past meetings this season but still scored 14 points, doing the best he could while guarding James, which put him in foul trouble, finishing with five.
Should the Nets feel confident about this kind of matchup in the playoffs? Yes, and no. Well, the Heat have a problem with the slower pace which keeps them off the transition and second-chance points. Miami will be a different team in the postseason supposedly, and if the two teams meet, it won’t be this “simple” sweeping the NBA champions again. But the Nets have big guards to make things difficult and play small ball themselves so the Heat don’t have the advantage they have against other teams. They might not even meet in the postseason, but it is certainly a match-up Miami should be worried about.
That’s just basketball. You have the best player in the world going against a rookie and we got lucky.