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Bam Adebayo Buzzer-Beater Gives Heat Win over Nets After Kevin Durant Injury

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistApril 18, 2021

Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant, center, goes up for a shot against Miami Heat forward Andre Iguodala, left, and guard Kendrick Nunn, right, during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, April 18, 2021, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press

The Brooklyn Nets lost ground on the Philadelphia 76ers for first place in the Eastern Conference on Sunday after falling to the Miami Heat 109-107 at AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami.

Goran Dragic tied the game at 107 with 43.6 seconds on the clock. Kyrie Irving then clanged a go-ahead three-pointer off the rim, which allowed Miami the opportunity for the final shot.

Bam Adebayo held the ball just inside the arc before attacking Jeff Green. Adebayo stopped short of the paint and hit a step-back buzzer-beater for the win.

With the result, the Sixers' lead on the Nets now stands at 1.5 games.

An injury to Kevin Durant will overshadow the defeat for the time being. The 11-time All-Star was limited to four minutes before exiting with a left thigh contusion. This was only Durant's fifth game back after recovering from a left hamstring injury.

         

Notable Performers

Kyrie Irving, PG, Nets: 20 points, nine assists, four rebounds, two steals, two blocks

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Landry Shamet, SG, Nets: 30 points, three assists, two rebounds

Bam Adebayo, C, Heat: 21 points, 15 rebounds, five assists, two steals

Goran Dragic, PG, Heat: 18 points, eight rebounds, six assists, one steal

          

Nunn, Dragic Carry Butler-less Heat

An ankle injury relegated Jimmy Butler to the bench for Sunday's encounter. While James Harden was unavailable for the Nets, the Heat seemed to be at a clear disadvantage. The combined efforts of Kendrick Nunn and Goran Dragic in the backcourt helped keep Miami afloat.

Adebayo also highlighted one of Brooklyn's biggest weaknesses. Matching up Green on the 2020 All-Star wasn't good for Brooklyn, but the Nets had few other alternatives.

Although title contenders no longer need to have an elite center prowling the paint, having some level of rim protection remains critical. And that's an area opposing teams will look to exploit every time.

While serving as a possible warning sign for Brooklyn, this game was a reminder of why the Heat aren't somebody you want to play in the playoffs. Miami might be in seventh place, but that position belies how good the roster collectively is at its best.

And the Heat are especially dangerous with how much Adebayo has expanded his offensive repertoire.

            

Shamet Enjoys Career Game

Landry Shamet slowed down a bit in the second half but was the standout performer through the first two quarters, dropping 18 points by halftime. And speaking of dropping things, he threw down a nice two-handed jam in the opening frame.

Shamet found his shooting stroke again in the fourth quarter as he hit a pair of three-pointers that put Brooklyn ahead 103-99 with 4:34 remaining.

As much as the Nets' three best players understandably get the majority of the attention, their depth is a massive luxury for a roster as top-heavy as Brooklyn's is. Shamet won't play like this every night, but he's one of multiple Nets players beyond the All-Star triumvirate who have the ability to alter the course of a game.

              

What's Next?

The Heat have their second game in as many days Monday at home against the Houston Rockets. The Nets continue their three-game road trip Tuesday against the New Orleans Pelicans.