The Miami Heat hosted the rising Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday night with aspirations of making up some ground on the Indiana Pacers for the top seed in the East. Instead, they came away with their fifth home loss of the year in the 96-95 loss, and the defending champs are now 0-3 against Brooklyn this season.
The Heat had the ball with a shot to win as they inbounded with 3.5 seconds left, but Chris Bosh tried to force the inbounds pass to LeBron James in the paint, and Shaun Livingston knocked it away to seal the stirring victory. The Nets entered the game just 12-19 on the road.
Paul Pierce's jersey read "Truth" because it was nickname night, but that was no lie. He poured in a game-high 29 points and needed just a dozen shots to do it. He drained five of Brooklyn's 12 three-pointers.
Mirza Teletovic turned in 16 superb minutes off the bench with 17 points and three blocks. Livingston turned in 13 points, seven boards, four assists and three steals. Deron Williams and Joe Johnson had just 14 points between them.
Bosh scored a team-high 24 points, and Dwyane Wade added 22 on 8-of-11 shooting. LeBron James turned in 19 points, seven dimes, five rebounds and three steals. Mario Chalmers added 14 points and nine rebounds. Miami actually outshot Brooklyn 48.5 percent to 43.6, but the visitors' 9-3 advantage on the offensive glass and six missed free throws for Miami loomed large.
The Nets leap-frogged into fifth place after the Washington Wizards' setback against the Charlotte Bobcats on Wednesday. They are now just two games out of third place after going 23-9 since New Year's Day. The Nets visit Washington on Saturday as they continue to make hay in the playoff race.
The Heat fall two games behind the Pacers with the loss. They host the Denver Nuggets on Friday night, then wrap up the homestand with the Houston Rockets for a nationally televised Sunday matinee.