Brooklyn (24-51) aims for a sweep of its two-game Florida road trip when it faces Miami (41-35) at the American Airlines Arena on Saturday night. The Nets have an opportunity to get their first season series win over the Heat in four seasons (the last time was during the 2013-14 season) and could extend their winning streak against the hosts to three games.
Game Info: Nets at Heat, 8:00 p.m. ET, (TV: YES, Radio: WFAN)
Here’s What to Watch for:
The Heat are all but assured of a trip to the postseason as they have a 5.5 game lead over the ninth-seeded Pistons. The Nets, however, can determine who the Heat play in the opening round of the playoffs.
Miami is in a three-team bubble fighting for sixth place in the Eastern Conference and it can even reach fifth if Indiana struggles in its final stretch. While Brooklyn is out of the playoff race, the team wants to build momentum for next season and faces a good test that it can learn from. How will the young Nets respond to an opponent that has a lot on the line? Kenny Atkinson will find out on Saturday night.
If Brooklyn wins, it will improve their record to 12-6 against Southeast Division teams. Only two other teams have more than 11 wins against the division, the Raptors (13 wins) and the Cavaliers (12). It would also be the second time that the Nets have won back-to-back season series against Florida’s teams, with the first time being in the 2005-06 season.
Can Joe Harris Keep Strong Week Going?
Joe Harris is averaging 22 points and five rebounds while shooting an unbelievable 83 percent from the field in his past two games. It’s been an incredible uptick in production after a recent quiet stretch prior to the game against Cleveland on March 25.
Harris’ improvement from a spot-up shooter to a well-rounded player also received some well-deserved national recognition from ESPN on Friday and Atkinson will hope for more of the same on Saturday. Miami sits just above the middle of the pack at 13 in three-point percentage by opponents at 35.9 percent. If Harris along with his Nets teammates get it going from downtown against the Heat, Brooklyn could be leaving American Airlines Arena with a win.
Atkinson on growing chemistry between Jarrett Allen and D’Angelo Russell: “Now D’Angelo’s starting to play with Jarrett more, obviously because they’re in that starting unit and they’re starting to get a good chemistry.”
Harris on becoming a well-rounded player: “We worked on that a lot, situationally, being able to put the ball on the deck when somebody runs you off the line and either finish or try to make a play for somebody else.”