HHH GameTime Preview: Heat try to avoid a third loss to the Nets this season

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The Brooklyn Nets make their first appearance of the regular season at the AmericanAirlines Arena after defeating the HEAT twice at Barclays Center.

The Miami Heat took care of their three-game losing skid with a hard-fought victory over the Washington Wizards on Monday night and they'll be looking to avoid losing three games this season to the Brooklyn Nets tonight.

The Heat were beaten early in the season 101-100 on November 1 as well as in overtime 104-95 on January 10 at Barclays Center.

Along the way, the Nets became one of the NBA's most disappointing teams after a series of high-profile moves that were designed to get them into contention. As it stands with a record of 32-30, the team should make the playoffs out in the weak East with a likely winning record, both small consolation prizes with a high-priced roster that has shown their age.

Speaking of their roster, former Heat project Shaun Livingston has been a revelation for the Nets this season and he had a major impact in their last matchup with the HEAT. John Schuhmann of NBA.com has more on Livingston and the Nets' play this year.

The key to the Nets' 22-9 record since Jan. 1 has been their defense, which is fifth-best in that time and has forced 19.2 turnovers per 100 possessions. No team has forced that many turnovers over a full, 82-game season since 1997-98.

The most important element of that improved Brooklyn defense is the length of Shaun Livingston, a guy who was signed to be the back-up point guard but who ranks third on the team in minutes and has started every game he's played (he's missed one) since ... Jan. 1.

Playing small, the Nets have struggled on the glass, haven't blocked many shots, and haven't done a great job of keeping their opponents off the free throw line. But they've had defensive success due to contesting shots and forcing mistakes.

The Heat are counting on a full-strength roster while Kevin Garnett (back) and Brook Lopez (foot) are not expected to play tonight. Miami will be playing the second game of a four-game homestand.

For more on the Nets, check out NetsDaily.

The game tips off at 7:00 PM at AmericanAirlines Arena and will be shown on ESPN and Sun Sports.

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