The Heat got the chance to see Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett in their new Brooklyn Nets uniforms for the first time in their 5th preseason game. After Jason Kidd's jersey was retired, the game tipped off and soon went the Nets way and they won the game 86-62.
It was clear that the Heat were not overly concerned about winning this game. Among the DNP-CD were Dwyane Wade, Ray Allen, Udonis Haslem, Chris Andersen, Michael Beasley, and Rashard Lewis. Greg Oden didn't play as has swelling in his knee. So the final score doesn't represent the true matchup between the soon to be rivals in the Eastern Conference. James Jones and Shane Battier started in place of Wade and Haslem.
And yes, the rivalry made a beginning earlier as LeBron James made a few remarks concerning Pierce and Garnett leaving Boston for Brooklyn in light of their not so pleasing treatment of Ray Allen upon his same decision last season.
The Nets took control of the game late in the first and all the way throughout the second quarter. The Heat only scored 28 first half points, and were down the remainder of the game. LeBron James led the Heat and looked very good for most of the game. He seemed to be falling in love with long jumpers and fade-aways, something coach Spoelstra doesn't want to see. James had 16 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists in 28 minutes.
Chris Bosh also had a strong showing for the Heat. He also had 16 points and 9 rebounds. Justin Hamilton left the game after 2 minutes with a broken nose. Roger Mason Jr. continued to get a lot of minutes. He wasn't super productive, but he seemed to fit in really well in the offense.
Eric Griffin started to make a little noise with his athleticism in the fourth quarter, pushing for a roster spot. At one point, he fell for a pump fake from Mason Plumlee and then jumped over Plumlee. It was quite incredible. But without Wade and company to help in the interim, Miami didn't have enough cohesive talent to take the Nets.
The Heat will need to continue to be sharper on defense and offense with the remainder of the preseason and training camp. But without the full compliment of the roster, it's hard to tell just how far they have come. Two big stats of concern for the Heat in this one are rebounding and free throw shooting. The Heat were out rebounded by the Nets 53-31, and the Heat shot 15-35 from the free throw line (42.9%).
All in all, it was just another chance for Spoelstra to continue to evaluate where his team is at and what they need to work on. The Heat face the Spurs next on Saturday.