Brooklyn Nets vs. Miami Heat: Postgame Grades and Analysis

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Brooklyn Nets vs. Miami Heat: Postgame Grades and Analysis
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

In a possible Eastern Conference Finals preview, the Brooklyn Nets returned to AmericanAirlines Arena seeking to avenge a 30-point loss in their first matchup against the Miami Heat.

Instead, they were put back in their place, ending a five-game winning streak that ultimately proved to be no match against the perfect 8-0 record of their opponent at home, losing 102-89.

Furthermore, the Heat extended their own five-game winning streak to six, as they ground out a victory led by the tandem of Dwyane Wade, with 34 points, and LeBron James, with 21 points. 

In a game that, at one point, seemed headed toward a blowout, Brooklyn came out of the gate strong, shooting 60 percent from the field thanks to its deft ball movement. 

Miami, on the other hand, looked every bit its ranking as one of the worst defensive and rebounding teams in the league.

Yet that reality, and an 11-rebound advantage for the Nets by halftime, was largely overshadowed by the striking absence of LeBron James and Chris Bosh for much of the first half. Side note: James and Bosh combined for exactly one point after the first quarter. 

Nevertheless, in one game-changing sequence in the second quarter, James capitalized on a three-point play that not only appeared to awaken the league MVP, but also provided the Heat with a momentum boost they would carry for the remainder of the game.

Fueled by the offensive consistency of Wade, who chimed in with 13 points in the decisive third quarter, and the resurgence of James, the Heat headed into the final period with a four-point lead on the heels of a 17-6 run. 

From that point on, the energy of the Heat and the arena only rose to new heights, as the smell of blood was more than enough to will Miami to victory. 

And whereas the Heat have typically relied on Ray Allen to address their moments of adversity, Saturday night proved to be a collective team response to that matter. 

All in all, it could be argued that this was the most inspiring Heat victory of the season. 

One that a team with the best record in the Eastern Conference can build on. 

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