The Miami Heat have lost consecutive games for the first time in more than a month, as LeBron James couldn’t finish a game he felt too alone in due to six personal fouls, while the Brooklyn Nets, suddenly one of the hottest teams in the league (five consecutive wins) came away with the 104-95 double overtime win.
James was playing angry from the first moment, something that lasted the entire first half, which the Heat finished down by 8 points. It was an impressive comeback in the second half and especially in the fourth quarter, with James finishing the game scoring 36 points, adding 7 rebounds and 5 assists. However, without Dwyane Wade, Udonis Haslem, Shane Battier and Mario Chalmers, everything the MVP did seemed to make little difference.
James fouled out during the first overtime period on a bogus charging call, but the Nets didn’t mind. They were trying to get into James’ head all night, which included a flagrant foul by Mirza Teletovic that had James even more furious. Playing angry works sometimes, but not when it clouds your judgment and decision making. This became too much of the James show, and the Miami Heat aren’t built to win like that against anyone.
We’re a no-excuse team, but right now we have three starters that didn’t play. Even though we’ve got a lot of depth, it is hard to make up for three starters being out.
The Nets have now won five in a row, and it seems that all the questions about Jason Kidd and the ability of these players to do anything about this season are in the past. Deron Williams didn’t play, but Joe Johnson continues to carry this team with some incredible shooting, finishing scored 32 points on 14-of-25 from the field. He scored 22 points in the first quarter, and scored most of his points on shot from 15 feet or further away from the basket.
Paul Pierce was actually consistent in his scoring for once, adding 23 points. He failed to win the game with last second shots in both regulation and the first overtime, but once again the sight of LeBron James brought out the best of what’s left in him, playing the best basketball we’ve seen from him since the last time the Nets beat the Heat.
Kevin Garnett continues his revival at center. He isn’t going to dominate defensively or under the basket like before, but he can make life difficult for teams, especially like the Heat when they’re missing almost half their players. Garnett grabbed 10 rebounds and added 12 points, while the Nets’ secret weapon over the last few games, Shaun Livingston, continues to be huge on both sides of the floor, adding 19 points, 11 rebounds and 5 assists.
We’ve obviously been playing better as of late. I think our momentum that we were carrying into this game, we’re trying to ride that wave.
There aren’t too many questions about the Nets right now. They’re playing without Deron Williams and Brook Lopez, but it seems that something has clicked. Playing sort of small-ball without a real point guard puts the ball in the right hands and makes things a bit less predictable and sluggish for a mostly old team, not to mention an energy surge that was missing for most of this season.
The Miami Heat won’t be thinking about this too much, knowing there wasn’t much they could have done. However, LeBron James losing his cool not for the first time this season might be something that needs to be addressed.