The Heat is on! Miami game a Heat check?

Steve Mitchell

The Nets win over the Magic Monday night was alright for what it was: a blowout at home over what has been the NBA's worst team of late, in the road end of a back-to-back ... without its top scorer. Next up, the Nets face the opposite of the Magic, some very real Heat.

For the first time, the reigning world champs will visit the Barclays Center, a building the Nets hoped could lure one or all of the Heat's Big Three to Brooklyn. In fact, LeBron James tweeted Tuesday that he's "really looking forward to playing in the new Barclay Center tomorrow night."

The Nets have already lost to the Heat twice, by 30 (without Gerald Wallace) and by 13 (without Brook Lopez). Now they will face the Heat in a game some might call a Heat check. The Nets have been playing better than they were a month and a half ago and Miami is only 6-4 over the last ten, with losses to the Celtics, Jazz, Trail Blazers and Pacers. Still, they remain first in the East, 3.5 games ahead of the Nets. They also have LeBron James. Moreover, the Nets will be the first team the Heat will face after an emotional visit to the White House.

Should the Nets win, January would be the winningest month in franchise history.

The Heat are beatable because they are such a poor rebounding team. In fact, they are the worst rebounding team in the NBA. They are particularly bad on the offensive boards. Still, they are No. 1 in shooting efficiency and in two-point shooting percentage. They've had some problems on defense as well, hurt by that offensive rebounding issue. Still, they are keep opponents from fast breaking much (not much of a concern with the Nets anyway) and are in the top 10 in defending points in the paint. Oh, and did we mention they have LeBron James?

The Nets are riding an eight-game home winning streak, but still have a losing record against teams over .500. (They remain undefeated against teams below .500) Although ball movement was top-notch on Monday, they also had 20 turnovers vs. the Magic. Deron Willliams had flu-like symptoms Tuesday, but is expected to play. Toko Shengelia is out with a slight concussion suffered while he was playing in Springfield.

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