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(Saturday, December 1st)
Final Score: Miami 102, Brooklyn 89
Miami, FL (Sports Network) - Dwyane Wade scored a game-high 34 points and the Miami Heat used a strong second-half to defeat the Brooklyn Nets, 102-89, and take sole possession of first place in the Eastern Conference.
Both teams entered the contest winners of five straight, but the Heat outscored the Nets 52-30 over the final two quarters to notch their 12th win of the season and to keep their streak going.
"We didn't necessarily play great basketball in the first half, but in some ways this was our best win," said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra. "This is a very good basketball team and we respect what they have been able to do. They came out very competitive, it was an Eastern Conference basketball game."
LeBron James followed with a strong performance as well, finishing with 21 points, nine rebounds and six assists in Miami's 12th straight victory over the Nets.
Without starting center Brook Lopez, who sat for the second straight game with an injured foot, Andray Blatche stepped up for the Nets and tallied a team- high 20 points to go along with eight rebounds.
Deron Williams finished with 10 points and 12 assists in the loss.
The Nets, who came in winning 10 of their last 12 games since losing to Miami by 30 points on Nov. 7, came out strong and never trailed in the first half. They took a 59-50 advantage into halftime, but faltered midway through the third quarter and never recovered.
"It was a tale of two halves, we just seemed to have worn down a little bit," said Nets coach Avery Johnson. "We made some mistakes that were kind of uncharacteristic of us. In the third quarter we turned the ball over too much and they capitalized on it."
A finger roll from Gerald Wallace put Brooklyn ahead 73-65, but the Heat rallied to take the lead following a 10-0 spurt. Wade and James finished off fastbreak dunks to cap the run after each player stole the ball from Williams on consecutive possessions.
The run changed the momentum of the game, as the Heat carried an 82-78 lead heading into the final quarter, where the Nets went ice cold shooting the basketball.
A three from C.J. Watson early in the fourth was all the Nets could manage for the first nine and a half minutes of the quarter until Wallace sank a pair of free throws. During the stretch, they shot a miserable 1-for-11 and had six turnovers.
In the midst of Brooklyn's dry spell, the Heat scored eight unanswered points, with Wade capping the run with a dunk and a jumper.
Joe Johnson banked a jump shot with under three minutes to play to pull the Nets within nine, but Ray Allen and Norris Cole drained triples around a Wade jumper to all but seal the victory.
Brooklyn was in complete control early, jumping all over Miami with an 11-0 run to take a 15-4 lead. After a short spurt by the Heat, the Nets used good ball movement to get an open jumper for Kris Humphries. who then became the beneficiary of a fastbreak dunk off a bad pass from Mario Chalmers.
After a three by Watson to begin the second period, the Nets went on top 27-16 and maintained a double-digit lead until James scored on a layup with 4:18 to play in the half.
The Heat, who shot an incredible 66.7 percent in the quarter, were only able to pull within five before heading into halftime down 59-50.
Rashard Lewis made his second consecutive start in place of the injured Shane Battier, scoring two points in 14 minutes of play ... The Nets last beat the Heat on March 20, 2009 at home and haven't won in Miami since a 94-85 triumph on Feb. 1, 2008.
12/02 03:17:10 ET
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