After losing on Thursday night in another borough, the Miami Heat crossed the East River and battled the Brooklyn Nets at the Barclays Center on Friday, Jan. 10 for 58 grueling minutes. The Nets had a four-game winning streak intact, and they extended it to five after outlasting Miami through two overtimes for the 104-95 win.
LeBron James led all scorers with 36 points, but in the first overtime he fouled out of a regular-season game for the first time since 2008. Joe Johnson led Brooklyn with 32 points, including 22 in the first 12 minutes. Shaun Livingston turned in a sublime performance in the marathon with 19 points, 11 dimes and three blocks in 51 minutes.
Brooklyn (15-21) brought a 12-point lead into the fourth quarter, but the Heat (27-10) produced one of their signature finishes to give fans bonus basketball. Unfortunately, it was a stalemate of an overtime with the teams managing just four points apiece. Norris Cole tied the game with three seconds left leading to five more minutes.
The Nets stormed out in the second overtime with an 11-0 run to smother the Heat and improve to 2-0 versus Miami this season.
With Mario Chalmers (Achilles), Shane Battier (quad) and Greg Oden (knee) already laid up with injuries, Dwyane Wade joined them on the pine as this matchup was the second game of a back-to-back on the road for the Heat.
Wade played on Jan. 9 in Miami's loss to the New York Knicks and scored 23 points on 11-of-15 shooting, but has already sat out a few games this season under similar circumstance. Of course, the Nets also found themselves short-handed once again as Deron Williams missed his 14th game of the season.
Friday also featured jerseys affixed with nicknames for the players.
Here are grades for every Heat and Nets player, and also their nicknames.
Heat Key Player Grades
LeBron James ("King James"), Small Forward
LeBron James tallied 36 points on 12-of-21 from the field plus seven rebounds and five assists. That looks pretty good, but he abandoned Miami for the final 5:36 after fouling out.
With 36 seconds remaining in overtime, James was called for an offensive foul after charging through Shaun Livingston at the foul line. That left Miami without the best player on the planet and trailing by two. Good thing the "Cole Train" came through, but the Heat could not keep it up in the next overtime.
LeBron also became incensed at Brooklyn's Bosnian three-point specialist Mirza Teletovic after getting wrapped up around the neck in the fourth quarter.
Amusingly, LeBron had just shoved Andrei Kirilenko on the drive and should have received an offensive foul earlier. Instead, "MT3" got a flagrant foul and LeBron was called for the offensive foul a split-second prior to being wrapped up.
Chris Bosh ("CB"), Center
Chris Bosh quietly notched a double-double with 10 points and 10 boards. He was particularly strong on the offensive glass with four rebounds there.
He added two assists, a steal and a block, plus the sweet dunk included below.
Ray Allen ("J. Shuttlesworth"), Shooting Guard
Ray Allen was not just abused thoroughly by Joe Johnson in the first quarter. He also could not find his shot all evening. He was 1-of-13 from the floor until a worthless bucket with 16 ticks left in the second OT.
Additionally, if you don't know why Ray Allen is nicknamed J. Shuttlesworth, you need to go watch the Spike Lee movie He Got Game right now.
Norris Cole ("Cole Train"), Point Guard
Norris Cole saw a lot of minutes against Brooklyn and he made them count. Cole logged 52 minutes and tallied 18 points while handing out seven assists.
On the game-tying bucket late in the first overtime, Cole controlled the ball all the way up the floor and calmly navigated to a soft spot above the elbow before proving his "clutchness."
Rashard Lewis ("Sweet Lew"), Power Forward
Rashard Lewis turned in an excellent first half with 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting. He managed only two more points after that on three shots, but he did add a pair of steals. He could do better than the lone rebound he tallied, though.
Rest of Bench
Chris Andersen seems more like Andersen's nickname, because he is already referred to more often than not as "Birdman." Usually twice in succession if you're talking to Shaquille O'Neal.
Andersen was his usual force in the middle for Miami and he played a robust 32 minutes, getting four points, nine rebounds and a block.
B Easy was extremely easy...to guard on Friday night. He missed six of his seven shots, one of his two free throws and added a pair of turnovers.
Roger Mason Jr. ("Moneymase") missed all three of his shots but made all three of his free throws in a forgettable 21 minutes. Joel Anthony ("Doc"), Udonis Haslem ("UD") and James Jones ("JJ") were DNPs.
Nets Key Player Grades
Joe Johnson (also "JJ"), Small Forward
Some Atlanta Hawks fans might point out that his nickname jersey should have read "No Show Joe," but that would be a tough argument after Joe Johnson's torrid start to the game.
Johnson scored 22 points...in the first quarter. Yeah, let's just stop talking about how good Miami's defense is. One night after allowing the Knicks to shoot 54 percent from the field, the Heat made Johnson look like Kobe Bryant, at least for 12 minutes.
Johnson got smothered after his early outburst, but he converted a tough leaner off the window with just over a minute left in regulation to put Brooklyn back on top.
He scored just 10 points after the first quarter, but a 32-point night is nothing to shake a stick at. He also nailed 4-of-6 from behind the arc along with five dimes, four boards and a steal.
Paul Pierce ("Truth"), Power Forward
Paul Pierce drilled a clutch three-pointer that put the Nets up by one with under two minutes to play. Then he drilled a dagger trey in the second OT that put Brooklyn up by seven. He finished with 23 points, five boards and three assists in 44 minutes.
He lived up to the name on the back of his uniform.
Kevin Garnett ("The Big Ticket"), Center
Stop the presses, Kevin Garnett is still a viable NBA player.
In 13 December games, Garnett averaged 6.1 points and 6.0 rebounds per game while shooting just 36 percent. In January, he shot 61.5 percent over his first four games, including an 11-point fourth quarter in a Jan. 8 win over the Golden State Warriors.
Garnett matched Chris Bosh all night on both ends of the floor, and he finished with a 12 points, 10 boards and a block.
Shaun Livingston ("S Dot"), Point Guard
Shaun Livingston played with superior energy and probably could have notched a triple-double if the game kept going. His performance was flat-out amazing: 51 minutes, 19 points, 11 rebounds, five assists and three blocked shots.
Livingston's 10th rebound of the night gave the Nets the final possession of regulation, but "Truth" couldn't convert the step-back triple at the buzzer.
Livingston made some of his best plays on defense. His block of Norris Cole led to Pierce's three in the second OT. Then he stuffed Ray Allen on a gimme layup 92 seconds later. He punctuated it with a spin move and slam dunk that put the Nets up by 11 and broke Cole's ankles.
Alan Anderson ("Double"), Shooting Guard
Alan Anderson could not find the mark early and missed all four of his field-goal attempts in regulation. However, his first points of the night came on a long two-pointer that gave the Nets the lead in overtime.
That was the sum total of his offense, plus two assists and two rebounds in 35 minutes.
Rest of Bench
Andray Blatche ("Dray Live") didn't see many minutes but he made them count. In 13:35, Blatche managed eight points (on 10 field-goal attempts) and eight boards, including four offensive.
Andrei Kirilenko ("Kirilenko" in Cyrillic script) played the irritant all night and drew a fifth personal on James with five minutes to play in regulation. Though the Russian scored only one point, he snatched four offensive rebounds and two steals in his 22 minutes.
Mirza Teletovic ("MT3") lived up to his nickname with three-point attempts, but not with the makes. The sharply coiffed reserve went 1-of-4 from downtown.
Jason Terry ("JET") couldn't turn back the clock on this evening. He played 18 minutes but failed to make an impact with his two points.
Reggie Evans ("Joker") didn't see much court time but he still made his only field-goal attempt and snagged three boards in under eight minutes.
The Heat have some time off as they don't play another game until Wednesday, Jan. 15 against the Washington Wizards, but that will start a rough stretch of four road games in six days.
The Nets will also be away from the comforts of home when they kick off a three-game road trip on Jan. 11 against the Toronto Raptors. Then they face the Atlanta Hawks for an extreme road game in London on Jan. 16.