The Miami Heat travel to Brooklyn to face the Nets on Friday night in a matchup that seems to be more intriguing than one would have thought even a couple of weeks ago. The Heat are 3-2 in their last five games, coming off a loss to the New York Knicks on Thursday night. The Brooklyn Nets, however, are the bigger story heading into the contest. They are 4-0 in the year of 2014, knocking off both the San Antonio Spurs and Golden State Warriors within that span.
Miami (27-9) looked out of sorts on Thursday, stumbling in the second half to fall to the Knicks (13-22) 102-92. LeBron James finished with a game-high 32 points on 12-of-17 shooting, adding 6 assists and 5 rebounds but turning the ball over 6 times as well. Dwyane Wade contributed with 23 points but the third piece of the team’s Big Three – Chris Bosh, struggled, tallying just 6 points on 3-of-10 shooting.
Brooklyn (14-21), while playing their best basketball of the season, is doing it without the help of Deron Williams (ankle) and Brook Lopez (out for season, foot) – arguably the squad’s two most valuable players. The Nets have won four consecutive games, including their latest victory over the Warriors which had won 10-straight until exiting Barclays Center on Wednesday night.
Joe Johnson paced his team with 27 points, while Andray Blatche contributed with 17 of his own and 5 rebounds off the bench.
The Nets have certainly been playing better basketball of late, but the Heat, despite playing in the regular season without much urgency, do not want to lose two consecutive games to two New York teams. Expect Miami to come out motivated and sharp. Brooklyn will put up a tough fight, but the visitors take it. 101-96.
National TV: ESPN
Time: 8:00 P.M. ET