Brooklyn Nets vs. Miami Heat: Postgame Grades and Analysis
Wednesday evening was an early-season litmus test for the Brooklyn Nets, one that they didn't exactly pass with flying colors.
The Heat ultimately came out on top, defeating the Nets 103-73 to improve their regular-season record to 4-1, while Brooklyn fell to 1-2 on the season.
The Heat continue to score at a blistering pace (51.9 percent shooting from the field), and if they can sustain their current offensive efficiency, will be nearly impossible to beat.
The Nets' size advantage was evident throughout the evening, but was mitigated by the Heat's impeccable floor spacing on the offensive end.
On the defensive end, the Heat were simply too quick for the Nets. A big issue for the Nets in the early going this season, their defense was underwhelming yet again.
LeBron James posted his fifth straight game with 20-plus points, finishing with 20 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists.
Deron Williams, PG, Brooklyn: B
Deron Williams started out the evening firing on all cylinders. Unfortunately, that pace was unsustainable for Williams and the Nets offense throughout the latter stages of the game.
An impressive first-half showing by Williams resulted in 12 points (6-of-12 shooting) and two assists, but he did rack up four turnovers in the game's first 24 minutes.
Williams led all Nets scorers with 14 points, but had three assists compared to a staggering seven turnovers.
Mario Chalmers, PG, Miami: C
The Heat's floor general wasn't particularly well matched up against Deron Williams, but he was able to keep the ball moving on the offensive end.
Any scoring Chalmers can provide is typically a bonus, but his real value may lie in his play as a more conventional point guard. Chalmers was dishing the ball early, finding teammates for open looks on corner threes, while running the pick-and-roll very smoothly.
Chalmers finished with eight points and five assists in a solid showing, one that pitted him against one of the NBA's elite point guards.
Keith Bogans, SG, Brooklyn: F
With Gerald Wallace sidelined, Keith Bogans was tabbed for starting duties, with Joe Johnson sliding up to the small forward position.
Bogans was pretty much invisible for the game's first half, recording zero points. Rendered useless by Wade's effective defense, Bogans was forced to take on a smaller role than head coach Avery Johnson would have preferred.
Bogans was subbed out often in the second half in favor of C.J. Watson and MarShon Brooks, and finished with a meager three points.
Dwyane Wade, SG, Miami: A-
Dwyane Wade didn't get off to a very fast start, but once he found his stroke, there was no looking back.
Wade didn't crack the score sheet until the second quarter, but by the time the first half ended, he had posted 12 points on an efficient 5-of-7 shooting. The Heat were plus-13 in the first half with Wade on the floor, and his careful shot selection was a good reason why.
Continuing his hot shooting in the second half, Wade finished with 22 points on 10-of-14 shooting. Wade simply let the game come to him, and it worked beautifully for the Heat.
Joe Johnson, SF, Brooklyn: D
The Nets tried to get Joe Johnson going early, but the shots simply weren't falling. Johnson managed just seven points on 3-of-9 shooting in the game's first half, with Battier and James his primary opposition.
For most of the evening Johnson deferred to point guard Deron Williams on the offensive end and finished with just nine points and two rebounds.
A concerning figure, Johnson shot just 4-of-14 from the field, reflective of the poor offensive flow that haunted the Nets all night long.
Shane Battier, SF, Miami: B+
With Kris Humphries stuck guarding Battier for the majority of the evening, the Heat took advantage. Battier knocked down two early threes, feasting on Humphries' inability to stick with him on the perimeter.
Battier was eaten alive by Humphries on the glass in the early going, and was eventually switched off of the big man in favor of the stronger LeBron James.
Effective throughout the evening, Battier finished with nine points (3-of-9 shooting from three) and held down the fort with nice complementary scoring and perimeter defense.
Kris Humphries, PF, Brooklyn: B
The Nets clearly had a plan to get Humphries involved early and often tonight. With LeBron James busy defending Joe Johnson out on the perimeter, Humphries was left to exploit his matchup against Shane Battier down on the blocks.
Humphries was hot early and finished the first half with a double-double (11 points and 10 rebounds).
Matched up against a Miami team devoid of significant height, Humphries was able to rack up rebounds at a proficient rate, one that he figures to sustain all season long.
Hindered by the Nets' need to shoot themselves back into the game, Humphries finished with 11 points and 11 rebounds.
LeBron James, PF, Miami: A
Another day at the office for the league's reigning MVP. James got out to a scorching start, with 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting in the first quarter, and finished the first half with 13 points, five rebounds and five dimes.
James was the team's offensive and defensive catalyst once again, distributing in transition and crashing the boards fearlessly.
'Bron also found ways to disrupt passing lanes, and showed his versatile abilites, guarding the 3 and the 4 throughout the game.
With game totals of 20 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists, James finished just two dimes short of another triple-double.
Brook Lopez, C, Brooklyn: C-
While Chris Bosh may have been off his game, his counterpart Brook Lopez wasn't exactly prolific either.
Lopez was frozen out of the Nets' offensive sets early and couldn't find many opportunities throughout the night. Worked into the flow more in the second half, Lopez was able to take advantage of his size, finishing with eight points and seven rebounds.
There are brighter days ahead for Lopez, but matched up against more versatile big men, there simply weren't enough opportunities for the Brooklyn big man.
Chris Bosh, C, Miami: D-
Of the Heat's big three, Chris Bosh was clearly the least effective on the night. Frustrated by the Nets' imposing size down on the blocks, Bosh was constantly badgered by big men Kris Humphries, Brook Lopez and Reggie Evans.
Bosh was an abysmal 1-of-8 shooting in the first two quarters, and managed to pull down just three rebounds through 24 minutes.
Bosh sat for a good portion of the fourth quarter, and finished with just eight points on 2-of-10 shooting.
C.J. Watson, PG, Brooklyn: D
The Nets' backup point guard was brought on to pack a scoring punch on Wednesday evening, but couldn't contribute at an efficient level.
Some early turnovers cut into Watson's confidence, and he didn't look like the dynamic scorer we had grown accustomed to seeing in the past.
Watson logged the most minutes of any Nets bench player with 25, but was largely muted by an inefficient offense that struggled to score.
In the end, Watson finished with just two points on 20 percent shooting from the field.
Ray Allen, SG, Miami: C
The nice thing for Ray Allen about playing on a star-studded team like the Heat is that he doesn't have to try and do too much.
Allen was able to play within himself, especially in the first half, where he knocked down 3-of-4 shots for six quick points.
With a big lead late, Allen didn't get involved much, and finished with nine points (1-of-2 shooting from three).
Brooklyn Bench: D-
With an array of talents on the bench, the Nets didn't have one standout reserve on this night. MarShon Brooks wasn't used at a particularly high rate and was only able to muster 12 points, most of which came in garbage time.
Mirza Teletovic and Andray Blatche were brought on to supplement Humphries and Lopez, but neither was particularly impressive.
It's going to take some time for all of the Nets' new pieces to truly mesh.
Miami Bench: A-
Ray Allen, Rashard Lewis, Norris Cole and Udonis Haslem were the primary contributors off of the bench for the Heat.
Allen was the most active, but Lewis' contributions shouldn't go unnoticed.
Lewis finished with 13 points, and his confidence has been very impressive through the first two weeks of the season. Shooting with poise, expect Lewis to become a key contributor for this Heat team as he searches to form a new identity.
Haslem was brought on to help Bosh on the glass, and compiled six rebounds in 20 solid minutes.