Deron Williams made his long awaited return to the Nets' lineup tonight in the Nets 108-87 rout of the Miami Heat. This was the Nets second straight preseason victory over the defending champions. It's too bad that these games don't count. However, this is the last time anyone will be saying that. The games do start to count Wednesday in Cleveland.
The Nets had four of their five starters active Friday. Kevin Garnett had the night off again and Miami was without LeBron James. Still, the Nets made a preseason statement.
The obvious development was the debut of Williams. The point guard started the game and pushed the tempo early, something coach Jason Kidd said was going to be a key to the Nets success. During his first six minutes of action, Williams drained 3 three's in as many plays setting the Twitter world on fire.
DWill just played 5 and a half minutes and hit 3 threes in 45 seconds.— Reed Wallach (@ReedWallach) October 25, 2013
Didn't take long for a Deron Williams heat check. Now 3-for-3 from 3.— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) October 25, 2013
D-Will has nine straight points. That was quick. #Nets
— Mike Mazzeo (@MazzESPN) October 25, 2013
Williams played a total of 10 minutes in the first half and was done for the night. He had reached his minute limit and looked good enough to play in Cleveland on Wednesday.
Pierce on physical moments with Wade: "I don't know what y'all talking about. I didn't feel nothing. You see I didn't even budge."— Michael Wallace (@WallaceNBA_ESPN) October 26, 2013
In another big positive, Jason Terry finished with 14 points in 17 minutes, like D-Will hitting all three of his shots from deep.
The Nets pushed ahead of Miami with their deadly three-point shooting. They shot a staggering 11-of-16 from three in the first half, and 17-of-27 for the game. The way they got such efficient looks beyond the arc, though, was due to their ball movement. Players constantly passed up the open shot to get one that was even more open, sometimes swinging the ball back and forth on the perimeter to get the perfect look.
Although, they had a lot of trouble defending the interior. The Heat scored 54 of their points in the paint, led by Mario Chalmers who hit several reverse layups around Brook Lopez. Outside of the paint, though, the Heat couldn't buy a bucket, shooting 3-of-13 from beyond the arc.
Joe Johnson helped the Nets get in front in the second quarter, which the Nets outscored Miami 41-24, with several finishes around the rim and physical play. Pierce led the starters in scoring with 16 points, and added that with 7 rebounds.and
The second half of this game focused mainly on the reserves and the game became a blowout real quick. The Nets led by as much as 30 at one points with Alan Anderson taking the lead. Anderson played his best game in a Net uniform. He scored a game-high 17 points and shooting 7-of-8 from the field, hitting all 3 of his threes.
Mirza Teletovic continued to struggle after starting out well this preseason. He did get in before Reggie Evans once again tonight, but he shot 4-of-15 shooting. Teletovic has failed to seize backup PF role ahead of Evans in the preseason, so it will be interesting to see how Kidd splits up the two forward's minutes.
The aforementioned Chalmers played a fine game for Miami, scoring 12 points along with Udonis Haslem, who had 16 points but after that not much else was given from the Heat players. did not play well, and Chris Bosh sat with James.
Finally, the preseason is over, and the games start to count. The Nets are healthy right on time and have made it known to the Heat that they are coming for their Eastern Conference crowd.
For more on the Heat, see: Hot Hot Hoops