Longtime Heat rivals and former Boston Celtics players Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett will take to the court Thursday night as part of an overhauled Nets lineup to host the Miami Heat. Brooklyn made the playoffs in their first year in New York but the front office made extensive changes to put together a legitimate threat to the Heat's Eastern Conference dominance.
Nets All-Star point guard Deron Williams will miss tonight's game as he continues to heal a sprained ankle; former Heat player Shawn Livingston is expected to start in his place. Also on the new roster are former Celtic Jason Terry and longtime Utah Jazz player Andrei Kirilenko, providing a boost of offense and defense (respectively) off the bench.
For the Heat, the team will look to jumpstart an offense that was sluggish and ineffective in Tuesday's 100 - 82 loss to the Washington Wizards. Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra may choose to sit out Dwyane Wade tonight versus the Nets. Look for Michael Beasley and Roger Mason Jr. to shoot often during their time on the floor as they continue working for a roster spot.
Tonight's game will also include a ceremony to honor new Nets head coach Jason Kidd. The 10-time All-Star played seven years for the Nets, guiding them to the NBA Finals in 2002 and 2003. Kidd retired as a player following the 2012-2013 season and was hired this summer to coach his former team. His "#5" jersey will be retired before the game.
The nationally-televised game will be broadcast on TNT, with coverage beginning at 8 p.m.