NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, December 1st (All times eastern)
Brooklyn Nets (11-4) at Miami Heat (11-3), 7:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Miami Heat have been tough to beat at home as evidenced by their franchise-record 7-0 start in south Florida.
In fact, the Heat have scored at least 100 points in all seven home games this season and look to dispose of the Brooklyn Nets Saturday night in the finale of a four-game residency.
Miami, which is in the midst of playing 10 of 11 games at home, recorded a 105-100 victory over a shorthanded San Antonio Spurs team Thursday. The Spurs decided to rest stars Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, and made it interesting until the end. The Heat were down 98-93 and later took the lead on Ray Allen's 3-pointer with 22.6 seconds remaining.
The well-rested Heat, who were playing their first game since Saturday, scored 20 of the game's final 28 points and were led by LeBron James' 23 points, nine rebounds and seven assists. Dwyane Wade had 19 points and Chris Bosh recorded a double-double of 18 points and 12 rebounds.
"We're not going to make any excuses for tonight," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "You deal with a lot of different things during the course of a season. Our guys were looking forward to this game. We played a little lethargic the majority of the game. They came out and played well. They played normal Spurs basketball. We were able to make big plays at the end."
The Heat have won five in a row overall and 11 straight at home dating back to last season's playoff run. Their 11-3 start to the season ties a franchise best after 14 games, first set during the 1995-96 season and matched in 1999-00. James has helped that cause, posting at least 20 points in the first 14 games this season, a career-best.
Miami played without forward Shane Battier, sidelined with a sprained MCL sustained in the team's win over Cleveland on Saturday. Battier could miss the next week of action.
After hosting Brooklyn, Miami will visit Washington, before returning home for six straight games. The Heat are one of the leaders with 104.8 points per game and James is near the top with 25.0 ppg. However, Miami's defense can get better and is allowing 100.3 ppg. James has scored at least 20 points in the first 14 games this season, a career-high.
The Nets have been impressive so far under the new zip code of 11217 and look to extend their winning streak to six games Saturday. They have beaten both Boston and Orlando on the first two tests of a three-game road trip and handed the Magic a 98-86 setback Friday night.
Joe Johnson had a game-high 22 points, Gerald Wallace scored 20 and Andray Blatche added 14 points and nine rebounds for Brooklyn, which shot 45.8 percent for the game and made 11-of-20 3-pointers (55 percent). Wallace had five of those 3-pointers.
"We're a much better 3-point shooting team than we've shown in the past," Nets coach Avery Johnson said. "The spacing was good, guys made on time and on target passes and we set good screens. That's a good formula for success."
Andray Blatche ended with 14 points and nine rebounds.
Nets center Brook Lopez missed the contest with a sprained right foot and is questionable for Saturday. The Nets are tied with New York atop the Atlantic Division and are 8-1 against the East this season. Brooklyn is 10-1 this season when holding the opposition under 100 points.
Brooklyn will open a four-game homestand Tuesday versus the Thunder, Warriors, Bucks and Knicks at Barclays Center.
Brooklyn was pounded by the Heat 103-73 back on Nov. 7 as James finished with 20 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists. Miami has won 11 straight and 14 of the last 15 meetings with the Nets.
The Nets have lost seven in a row at Miami.
12/01 10:26:51 ET