Nets Winning Streak Ends in Miami

By Cory Wright

The Brooklyn Nets two-game winning streak came to an end Monday, as the Nets lost a shootout with the Miami Heat 110-99 at American Airlines Center.

The Nets shot 53%, with Brook Lopez (26 points) and Thaddeus Young (20 points) each dropping 20+ points, but they were one-upped by the Heat, who shot 57%. They trailed 82-75 after three quarters, but unlike their two previous games, the Nets didn’t have a fourth-quarter comeback in them.

“I don’t think our offense was the problem,” Lopez said. “We turned the ball over a bit too much and that led to their offense.”

Dwayne Wade (30 points, 9 assists) and Hassan Whiteside (a career-high 27 points, 8 rebounds) were Miami’s answer to Lopez and Young. But while the Nets struggled to find secondary scoring on Monday, the Heat got double-digit contributions from Josh Richardson (16 points) and Justice Winslow (13 points).

“He definitely controlled the game and controlled the tempo tonight,” Lopez said of Wade. “He’s iatrical in what they do. He made a lot of tough baskets. Vintage D Wade stuff and he definitely made it difficult for us.”

The Nets allowed a season-high 72 points in the paint, as the 7’0 Whiteside was a dominant force inside. Bounces didn’t go the Nets way either, as epitomized in the fourth quarter, when a Lopez blocked a Winslow layup, but the ball tipped off his hand, straight up off the rim before dropping in. That came on the heels of a Shane Larkin attempted layup that was swatted off the glass.

“They gave us a taste of our own medicine,” Interim Tony Brown said. “That was an area we had some success the last couple of ballgames, but when you turn it over at the clip we turned it over it’s not going to go well for you against this team.”

The Nets committed 20 turnovers for 23 points.

The first half of Monday’s game was all offense, as the Nets and Heat both shot 61% (22-of-36) from the field. Despite shooting their best percentage in any half this season, the Heat took a 57-52 advantage into the break.

Miami went on a 9-2 run in the third quarter, giving the Heat a 13-point lead, but the Nets chipped away, bringing the deficit to seven points (82-75) at the end of the third quarter.

After holding the Cleveland Cavaliers and Indiana Pacers to a combined 29 points over the past two fourth quarters, the Nets fourth quarter magic ran out. Brooklyn was outscored 28-24 in the final period, with Whiteside picking up 15 of his points in the fourth. The Nets shot 2-of-10 to start the quarter, ultimately nullifying their 7-of-11 finish. Brooklyn’s 99 points ended the Nets’ streak of seven straight games with 100+ points.

“Whiteside came in and gave them a huge lift off the bench,” Brown said. “He played great. The rolls off the rim, the lob plays, they go to him and he’s unbelievably gifted around the rim.”

The Nets faced Joe Johnson for the first time since buying him out on Feb. 25. The former Net had two points and seven assists on Monday night.

“It was surreal. It’s been a long time since I’ve played against him in a game,” Lopez said. “I’m happy for him and the situations he’s in. He seems to be enjoying it. I wish him all the best, but wish we could have got the win against him.”

The Nets, who are in a stretch of four games in five days, play again on Tuesday night, when they visit the Orlando Magic. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. 

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