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Game recap: Heat fall to Nets 110-109 in overtime

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Miami had multiple chances to grab the victory and guarantee a spot in the playoffs.

NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Miami Heat Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Miami Heat fans knew better than to underestimate the Brooklyn Nets. The squad from Brooklyn hasn’t had much to play for all year. The Nets never had the talent to compete in an improved Eastern Conference, and they lost their 2018 first round draft pick in the disastrous Kevin Garnett-Paul Pierce trade of 2014.

But you wouldn’t recognize 2017-2018 as a lost Brooklyn season if you only watched the team’s games against the Miami Heat. Brooklyn dominated Miami for long stretches of the four Heat-Nets match-ups this year. Saturday night’s game was no exception, with the Nets squelching Miami’s offense for well more than half of the game, turning a 14 point first-quarter deficit into a nine point fourth-quarter lead.

Unfortunately for the Heat, a late rally led by James Johnson in the fourth quarter — and then Dwyane Wade in overtime — wasn’t enough to propel Miami to victory. Even worse for the Heat, the team blew a chance to clinch a playoff spot and even lost some ground in the standings to the victorious Washington Wizards and Milwaukee Bucks.

If you care to revisit this one, we’re going to break the game down quarter by quarter. Here’s one thing you may have noticed from each of the tense five periods of basketball in Miami — and one thing you may have missed.

1st quarter

You probably noticed...

How good Kelly Olynyk looked in the first period. His beautiful two man play on the offensive end fueled a dynamite 12 minutes of Heat scoring.

After a tired Hassan Whiteside retreated to the bench after five early productive minutes, Olynyk held his own on the defensive end, showcasing his ability to defend in the post and snag rebounds in traffic.

You may have missed…

Josh Richardson doing all the little things. Even on a night where he didn’t have everything working offensively, J-Rich found ways to leave his mark on the game. Late in the first quarter, Richardson tipped a Heat miss to Olynyk, who found Justise Winslow for an open three pointer. Winslow missed the shot, but the play showcased Richardson’s tenacity. Dude never gives up on a play.

2nd quarter

You probably noticed…

The Jarrett Allen experience. I believe Nets coach Kenny Atkinson when he says Brooklyn is trying to model its player development system after the Heat’s. Young players like Allen, Caris LeVert and Spencer Dinwiddie gave the Heat fits all night with their effort and energy. Lineups led by Allen’s rim-running and defensive presence outworked the Heat in the second quarter — and outscored Miami, too, 26-23.

You may have missed…

D’Angelo Russell, if you’re a Heat fan. One of the first things I noted watching the early minutes of this game was Russell’s seeming attempt to murder his own team’s chance at victory with ill-advised shots and missed defensive rotations. Sadly for the Heat, Nets coach Kenny Atkinson also noticed his young point guard’s horrendous play. The Nets skipper benched the former Ohio State standout after just a few first quarter minutes. The Nets were better for it.

3rd quarter

You probably noticed…

The Heat playing with heavy legs. I don’t know what it was about this particular Nets team that made the Heat lose its defensive edge. The unfortunate third quarter saw Miami struggling to get into its normally crisp offensive handoff sets. Perhaps even more noticeable was the Heat’s effort on defense. The Nets shoot and make the second most three pointers of any team in the Association, yet Heat players kept sagging off of gunners at the perimeter. Miami was outscored 32-21 in a frustrating 12 minutes of basketball. Heat color television announcer Tony Fiorentino said the game was lost not at the end of overtime, but in the second and third quarters. He was right.

You may have missed…

Hassan Whiteside’s post game showing signs of life. Whiteside beat a double team to score a timely second quarter bucket, then scored on another post-up in the third quarter with his signature spin move. It’s not the Heat’s most reliable offensive weapon, but once things slow down in the playoffs, a healthy Whiteside post game could net Miami the occasional bucket.

4th quarter

You probably noticed…

The James Johnson mid-quarter supernova. Johnson can at times make it easy to forget why Miami signed him to a massive four-year, $60 million contract last offseason. The fourth quarter reminded us all why Pat Riley and company believed so much in Johnson. He was unstoppable, with three different and-one drives to the bucket, and a huge block on the defensive end to boot.

You may have missed...

Justise Winslow making great decisions. We don’t have to talk about the shot that Goran Dragic missed by 2 inches at the end of regulation. We don’t have to talk about Caris LeVert’s game-saving block on Winslow with about 30 seconds to go. Let’s put some positivity in the world and reflect on Justise Winslow’s ability to pull down a rebound, scan the floor, and make a good decision in crunch time. In three key late-game possessions, Winslow:

-Hauled in a board and went coast-to-coast
-Found Wade for what should have been a go-ahead layup — only to see Wade fumble the ball out of bounds
-Dished to Wade for a massive score to put Miami up by one with about 1:15 to play in regulation.

We can be frustrated by the result of tonight’s game while marveling at Winslow’s development.


You probably noticed…

The Heat couldn’t buy a bucket late. How many potential game-winning shots rolled off the rim in that crazy final sequence? How much money would you have bet on Dwyane Wade hitting the shot out of that final post-up? How unfortunate was it that Coach Spo called a timeout at the exact moment that James Johnson had a wide open lane to the basket for a go-ahead score? Ugh.

You may have missed…

Winslow’s defense. (I’m going to keep talking about Winslow if that’s OK with you.) His defense in overtime was exquisite. He should have been credited with a block on Brooklyn’s Joe Harris but for an unfortunate piece of refereeing. (The game was well officiated overall, I might add.) After Wade missed a go-ahead shot with about 30 seconds left, Winslow somehow poked the ball away from Brooklyn without fouling, securing a final possession for the Heat.

Be thankful for Winslow. Be thankful the Heat have time to recover from this brutal game. And be thankful Miami doesn’t have to play the Nets again.