It doesn't get any easier. Fresh off their loss to Boston on Saturday night, the Nets get to play host to the Miami Heat. It's just another Miami Heat type season. The Heat are coming off a great win in Madison Square Garden on Sunday as they stifled the Knicks in the 4th quarter and took the best Carmelo Anthony had to offer and still came out on top. They beat the hell out of most teams, and whenever they lose to the top teams, the sky is falling. First world problems I guess.
How do these teams compare? Let's get into the numbers:
Free Throw Rate
Offensive Rebounding %
Same stuff, different day for Miami. They're a lethal offense led by the incomparable LeBron James and friends. They get to the line a ton (to be expected of course) and they are terrific from the outside (6th in three point %). Is there a weakness in their defense? At the rim? No, they're tied with Chicago for lowest opponent FG%. 10-15 feet? Nah, they're third in opponent FG%. Deep jumpers? They rank 11th in that category. Behind the three point line? Well, the numbers say they're weak in that area (3rd highest opponent FG%), but that I think that can be explained. They usually jump out to big leads, so teams will throw up a bunch of threes to try to make it back in.
Hey the Nets have gotten better on D! They've gone from worst defense, to second worst, and now they're the 3rd worst defense in the NBA. It's the little things you hold on to.Our guys played a good first half, but they couldn't get anything going past halftime. They were outscored 46-34 as they went on to lose. This is a redundant statement, but the Nets really don't match up well vs. this team. The Heat are great shooting threes, while the Nets are terrible at defending it. The Nets turn it over a bunch (8th highest committed) and the Heat love to force turnovers (3rd highest opponent turnover rate) and get their deadly fastbreak game going.
Let's head back to the 2006 Playoffs. Ever since Wade's been in the league, he's been a Nets killer. This game was no exception.
Tip-off is at 7:30. You gotta jump for the fun stuff.
Point Guard: Mario Chalmers vs. Deron Williams
Chalmers will never be mistaken for Chris Paul, but he's a fine role player for this team. He's aggressive on defense and is a great spot up shooter (40% from three point range). He doesn't need to have a big role offensively for Miami to win this game, so he'll be focusing all of his energy on hounding Deron Williams.
Considering that the Nets shot just 36% from the field vs. Boston, it's surprising Williams got 14 assists. His passing has been great as of late (he's been putting together a solid stretch of double-digit assist games), but his shooting still leaves a lot to be desired. This is a showcase game of sorts for Williams, so look for him to take a lot of shots against that tough Miami D.
Shooting Guard: Dwyane Wade vs. Marshon Brooks
Wade's not seriously injured or anything like that. The reason I have the question mark next to his name is because Spoelstra has been giving him games off against the crappy teams. New Jersey would certainly qualify as a crappy team, but let's talk about him anyway. He had a bad game vs. the Bulls on the whole, but he did have a solid stretch in the 4th quarter. Come playoff time, he should be healthy enough to do major damage. If Wade takes the game off, look for James Jones to get the start. Jones is a sharpshooter and hell see a ton of good looks in this contest.
Brooks is gonna have a tough time in this contest. He didn't do much of anything vs. Boston, and Miami is just as ferocious on defense as Boston is. Good luck.
Small Forward: LeBron James vs. DeShawn Stevenson
BEST IN THE WORLD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! For the fourth straight season, LeBron leads the league in Win Shares. Whatever you want in a basketball player, LeBron does it really well. Efficiency? For a player who uses as many possessions as LeBron, a 60% True Shooting % is incredible. Passing? LeBron is 14th in Assist %. Everybody else in the Top 20? Point Guards. Rebounding? I'd kill if Brook Lopez could have a rebound rate of 11. Defense? Opposing small forwards have a PER of 10 vs. 'Bron, and he can guard every position on the court, and do it well. Best in the world indeed.
Stevenson will try to trash talk, and then get his butt kicked. I can't wait til he's off this team.
Power Forward: Chris Bosh vs. Kris Humphries
Bosh is actually a very good player. You'd never know it due to all the heat (pun intended) he catches. He's a competent midrange shooter, capable rebounder and a solid third option that can be a high usage player when called upon.
You put Kris Humphries against a great big man, he will catch a beatdown. Bosh is a great player. A beatdown will commence.
Center: Udonis Haslem vs. Shelden Williams
Haslem is a perfectly solid player. He can pop a mid range jumper on a consistent basis, he's a good rebounder and provides a physical presence.
They might as well start Jordan Williams since he's getting most of the minutes anyways.
Miami: Shane Battier, Norris Cole, James Jones, Mike Miller, Joel Anthony
Every time the Heat lose, it's a national controversy.
Mike Miller's a needed piece if the Heat wanna win the title.
Two headbands for LeBron? I can dig it.
Loyalty hahahahaha— Dwyane Wade (@DwyaneWade) March 15, 2012
RIght now, the Heat would be facing the Sixers in Round 1. They swept the season series and beat them in 5 in the First Round last season.
Bosh jokes never get old.
We're all just waiting for the Main Event between Miami & Chicago. Nobody else is getting close to them.
As of this moment, the Nets pick (which is Top 3 protected) is at the 7 spot according to ESPN.
The playoff races (as of Sunday afternoon):
8)New York (.5 behind Philly)
9) Milwaukee (2 games behind NY)
7) Houston (1.5 game behind Dallas)
8) Denver (1.5 games behind Dallas)
9) Phoenix (1.5 games behind Houston and Denver)
10) Utah (2 games behind Houston and Denver)
Journey through the darkside: Peninsula is Mightier
The mothership: Heat vs Nets coverage