Jimmy Butler got the Heat started off on a spin cycle of a possession, but the Nets weren’t far behind. Spencer Dinwiddie was on fire to start for the Nets (he scored their first eight points). Despite opting to facilitate most of the time, Jimmy was very aggressive offensively to start this game. Unfortunately he had to be, as Miami struggled to score early on.
Duncan Robinson would break the Heat out of the slump, and get them going on an 10-0 scoring run but Miami’s cushion wouldn’t last long. Joe Harris lit up sparking a 10-0 run single handedly as he knifed through Heat defenders and propelled the Nets to a four point lead.
Towards the end of the quarter the Heat reserves found some success with Winslow, Silva and Dragic, but spent a lot of time forcing shots. Luckily they were able to get to the free throw line often. The Heat would escape the first quarter up two despite only shooting 40% from the field.
Justise got his first score to open the second quarter, where he found himself as the primary ball handler. The Nets didn’t slow down though, as they grilled Miami for easy buckets causing the lead to fluctuate multiple times.
Miami’s defense seemed out of sorts as they fought through a scoring drought. Despite being one of the top 15 three point shooters in the league this season, Miami suffered from beyond the arc in this one. Although the Heat shot terribly, they stayed right within striking distance. This was largely because of Goran Dragic who worked hard to create his own offense, and in doing so feasted on a buffet of layups and open looks (he had 19 points at the end of the second.)
Goran also worked to get the rest of the team involved, finding Bam Adebayo, Jimmy Butler and others for open looks. It’s easy to forget the Goran was an All-Star not too long ago and when he does stuff like this and you’re sorry you ever doubted the Dragon.
With the lead already having changed over 14 times, the Nets would take another four point lead. Miami fought back with Bam playing bully ball with Jarett Allen, but it wouldn’t be enough as the Nets destroyed Miami in the paint and from the outside to go up seven.
The good news? Yes, there was actually some. The Heat hardly had any turnovers in the first half, which is nice considering we have the highest TOV in the league according to NBA stats. Also Bam had an amazing dunk near the end of the quarter. It’s the little things.
Meyers Leonard, and Kendrick Nunn led Miami’s offense to stay within striking distance. Unfortunately, the Heat defense still had no answers for Spencer Dinwiddie and co. Joe Harris for example, made easy work of Duncan Robinson on the defensive end.
After starting the game strong on offense, Jimmy Butler elected to force midrange jumpers and they didn’t fall. Miami’s offensive decisions just seemed strange after seeing this team share the ball so well all season.
The Heat stepped on the gas to take the lead around around the 5:15 mark led by Meyers Leonard. Justise Winslow would also display some of the playmaking skills he’s flashed over the last year finding Nunn for a great layup. The lead would continue to switch often, but finally the Heat showed some offensive rhythm.
Miami picked up their defense, frustrating the Brooklyn guards in the paint. The Heat would go into the fourth only up two, but with momentum.
Brooklyn would steal back the lead to start the fourth going on a small run. Miami wouldn’t stagnate though, with Winslow and Dragic delivering for the Heat on the offensive end.
After some poor turnovers by Bam, Miami lucked out with Brooklyn entering their own scoring drought. That drought wouldn’t last as Joe Harris went to work once again, extending the Brooklyn lead to six.
Jimmy Butler would hit a huge three with the shot clock expiring around the 5:20 mark, that looked like it could ignite the Heat, but that wasn’t the case.
Miami would push the pace towards the end of the quarter, and deliver on some tough buckets. They’d also get into bonus and do some damage at the free throw line to get within two with just over a minute left. Jimmy Butler would get to the line with 44.8 seconds remaining, and go 1/2 putting the Heat in an interesting position down one. With Joe Harris missing a gimme on the other end, Jimmy Butler would hustle down the floor and get to the line once again (Kenny Atkinson would challenge the call, and lose his last timeout). Jimmy would go on to make both his free throws to put the Heat up one.
Spencer Dinwiddie had an opportunity to take the lead, but he’d miss. Justise was immediately fouled and would hit both shots. The Nets would get one more chance, but they wouldn’t convert and the Heat would escape New York with a big win in one they probably should have lost. Jimmy Butler really displayed his chops as a closer, it was a sight to see and something that definitely inspires confidence moving forward.