Are Nets a threat to the Heat?

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Heat have lost four of their past five games. So it's time for some ESPN hand-wringing among those who follow the club!  Among them: three writers who write about Miami full-time: Israel Gutierrez, Brian Windhorst and Michael Wallace.

One of the five questions presented the five writers was "Fact or Fiction: Brooklyn is Miami's second-biggest threat in East?"  Gutierrez, Tom Haberstroh of ESPN and Ethan Sherwood Strauss of True Hoop all dismiss the question, believing that the Bulls, not the Nets are a bigger threat.

But the two guys who follow the team most closely aren't so sure...

Wallace: Fact. The Heat have had regular-season struggles against Chicago, Boston and even New York in the past, only to beat up on those foes in the postseason. But these difficulties with Brooklyn feel different. The Nets have shown during a 3-0 mark against Miami that they can create serious, sustainable matchup problems for the Heat because of their combination of length, skill, perimeter shooting, balance and experience. If healthy, Brooklyn can almost rival Indiana as a potential postseason headache for Miami.

Windhorst: Fact. But this has been the case for a while now, even before they got hot. The Nets have a team that is built for the playoffs because they play at their best when the game is slow, and have postseason experience. However, there's a good chance the Nets will be on the other side of the bracket if the Heat stay in the No. 2 seed, because Toronto has a far easier schedule than the Nets and currently has the No. 3 seed.

In an interview on YES, P.J. Carlesimo also spoke of the Nets ability to beat Miami and what it means.

"They're in their heads," said the former Nets interim head coach. "They've got one more game to go obviously, and who knows, maybe the playoffs, but when you beat a team three times, there's always different circumstances. Somebody misses a game or injuries or back-to-back or who knows what. But you beat a team three straight times in the league, you're in their heads for sure."

The Nets, who also beat the Heat twice in pre-season, next play Miami in Miami on April 8.

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