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Miami Heat: Wade Leaves with Ankle Injury as Heatles Dominate New Jersey Nets

Peter Emerick@@peteremerickSenior Writer IIMarch 7, 2012

MIAMI, FL - FEBRUARY 07:  LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat looks on during a game against the Cleveland Cavaliers at American Airlines Arena on February 7, 2012 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Holy ball movement Batman!

The Miami Heat absolutely dismantled the New Jersey Nets, and they did so by moving the ball and finding the open shooter consistently, accounting for 30 assists on Tuesday night in South Beach.

The Heat extended their home winning streak to 10 games after beating the Nets, 108-78.

The last time the Heat lost a game in Miami was back on Jan. 22, when they went up against the "Heatles" killers, the Milwaukee Bucks

Impressively enough, the Miami Heat held Deron Williams in check, allowing him to score only 16 points while holding the entire Nets team to a below-average 37.3 shooting percentage from the field—a result of the Heat's intense defensive pressure.

In his first appearance in the past three games, Chris Bosh accounted for 20 points on 9-of-14 shooting, which just goes to show how important Bosh is to the Heat's overall functionality and success as a team moving forward down the stretch of the 2011-12 NBA season.

In addition to Bosh's successful return, LeBron James accounted for 21 points, nine rebounds and six assists, while only missing two shots from the field the entire night.

With all that being said, the story line on Tuesday night was Dwyane Wade's 13-point performance, which came in just 15 minutes on the court.  Wade's 15 minutes of game time Tuesday night wasn't by choice, though, as it was a result of aggravating an ankle injury that forced him to spend the majority of the night on the Heat's bench.

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LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 04:  Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat reacts after fouling out during a 93-83 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on March 4, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that,
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While Wade's ankle injury didn't appear to be too serious, there's no doubt that the sight of Wade on the bench with an injury isn't a sight that Miami Heat fans want to see.

Beating the New Jersey Nets isn't necessarily a big-time win by any means for the Miami Heat, but it undoubtedly was important, as the Heat are about to enter into a challenging stretch of games against the elite of the elite in the Eastern Conference.

A tune-up against the Nets is exactly what the Heat needed, especially when you look at the Heat's next six opponents, which include road games against the Orlando MagicChicago Bulls and Philadelphia 76ers.

The tough stretch of games for the Heat starts off tomorrow with a visit from the Atlanta Hawks, who will be looking to avenge their 20-point loss at the hands of the Heat this past February.

If the Heat want to continue to win games—no matter whom those games are against—they absolutely must cut down on turning the ball over.  The Heat turned the ball over 17 times against the Nets on Tuesday night, resulting in 21 points off of those turnovers.

While 21 points might not seem like a lot, it accounted for nearly a quarter of the Nets' 78 total points on the night.  Sure, the Heat can win games against teams like the Nets while turning the ball over like it's their job, but they can't win games doing that against playoff-caliber teams in the East, like the Atlanta Hawks.

Surprisingly enough, the Heat's main culprit when it comes to turning the ball over is none other than LeBron James, who averages 3.4 turnovers per game.  While 3.4 turnovers a game isn't necessarily an incredible amount, it's still the kind of stat line that can be the difference maker between winning and losing close games.

If Miami wants to continue their winning ways against the Atlanta Hawks in South Beach on Wednesday night, they must protect the ball and continue to move the ball around like they did against New Jersey.

Can the Heatles snap the Hawks' three-game winning streak and get another important win heading into a stretch of key matchups with the beasts of the East?

I sure think they can and will, but let your thoughts be known in the comment section below.

Don't forget to follow me on Twitter @peteremerick.  

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