The Nets are a sub-.500 team on the road (10-11) but are 17-7 at the Barclays Center. Miami has struggled to a 10-10 record away from American Airlines Arena. Brooklyn is 13-4 under head coach P.J. Carlesimo, who was named interim coach after Avery Johnson's firing. The Nets have lost two of their last three, getting blown out by Memphis and Houston before routing the Magic 97-77 Monday.
Miami is playing on the road for the eighth time in their last 10 games.
The Heat visited the White House Monday to be recognized by President Obama for winning last year's championship. If you haven't already read Surya's first-hand account or you've never been inside the White House, there's a lot of interesting information in there.
As for tonight's game, Miami defeated Brooklyn in the teams' first two meetings this year, routing the Nets 103-73 Nov. 7 and rallying from a 14-point deficit on Dec. 1 for a 102-89 win. However, both of those games occurred before Johnson's firing and were played in Miami, where the Heat are 18-3.
Under Carlesimo, the Nets offense has become the NBA's eighth best, averaging 104.7 points per 100 possessions. Brooklyn is a plodding team that plays at the league's second-slowest pace, so the Heat may want to pick up the tempo in an effort to take the Nets out of their comfort zone. Miami has played at a surprisingly slow pace this year too, but the Heat are coming off two days of rest and certainly have the horses to run when they want to.
Defensive rebounding will likely be the biggest factor for Miami in tonight's game. The Nets haul in 30 percent of their own misses, good for fourth most in the NBA, while the Heat are the league's seventh worst defensive rebounding team. Brook Lopez, Gerald Wallace, Reggie Evans and Kris Humphries all boast double-digit rebound rates on the offensive glass, so if Miami is unable to limit Brooklyn's second-chance opportunities, it could be a long night. Brooklyn's offensive efficiency comes from two areas: creating second chances and getting to the free-throw line.
Miami held the Nets to 6-for-49 (12%) shooting from three-point territory in the first two games.
Tip-off is at 8 and the game will air on ESPN.
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