The Nets return home and try to slow down the Heat

Look out below! - Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Halfway home, and not in a good way. The Nets once again fell to the Miami Heat and are down 2-0 in this best of seven series. This absolutely is the biggest game of the Nets season because nobody in the history of the NBA has come back from a 3-0 series deficit. If there's a saving grace for the Nets, it's that they were a much better team at home than they were on the road. Having the crowd behind them won't hurt either.

The Numbers

How's the postseason been going for these teams? Let's take a look:

2013-2014 playoffs

Brooklyn

Miami

Pace

89.64 89.81

Offensive Efficiency

106.3 112.9

Defensive Efficiency

107.6 99.4

Offensive Rebounding percentage

23 14.6

Turnover rate

13.6 11.1

Assist rate

15.1 17.8

Rebound rate

47.9 48.5

Free throw rate

35.2 30.7

Effective Field Goal percentage

50.6 55.8

Opponent Effective Field Goal percentage

51 50.2

You're not gonna win anything when your franchise point guard gets shut out. Granted he did have seven rebounds and six assists, but not scoring a single point is something that should not happen for Deron Williams. He went 0-8 from the field, didn't get to the free throw line at all and was a -18 in his 36:31 of playing time. For much of the playoffs, Williams has received criticism for being non-aggressive and not making as big of an impact as he should. Mario Chalmers did a good job against him in Game Two, but Deron still has the advantage between the two. He responded to the criticism he received last round and had his best game in months against the Raptors in Game Six. Brooklyn can only hope history repeats itself. Prior to the series, Dexter Henry discussed this matchup and said:

The X-Factor of this series as it will be for any series thus far in the playoffs for Brooklyn is Deron Williams. D-Will is going up against Mario Chalmers and has to get it done. No disrespect to Chalmers but Williams HAS to dominate that matchup every night.Kyle Lowry was a tough matchup and in the games D-Will played well against Toronto the Nets also played well however in this round Brooklyn has a edge in talent at the point guard position.  Therefore it is imperative that their franchise player plays like one if the Nets are to advance to the Conference Finals.

Speaking of disappearing acts, Kevin Garnett didn't play well either. KG only scored four points and couldn't convert on his shots near the rim. On the bright side, he did collect a game high 12 rebounds so he did contribute in one area. Andray Blatche and Mason Plumlee haven't been playing well, so the Nets need him to continue being active on the glass and hope that he can snap out of his cold spell. And on another note, if the whole point of the minutes restriction was to keep Garnett ready for the postseason, with this being the biggest game of the year, the limit has to be rescinded, right?

For a nice stretch, we were treated to a mini three point shootout between Mirza Teletovic and Rashard Lewis. Mirza had the best playoff game of his young career, making six three pointers and scoring 20 points overall in his 25 minutes. With the Nets Center trio struggling, Mirza might see an increase in playing time for Game Three. He's got enough size to help out on the glass and has more than enough ability to space out the floor for Joe Johnson when he's in the post. As for Lewis, he hit on two three pointers during his 20 minutes on the court. The beautiful thing about the Heat is that they have a bunch of old men (meant with the highest of praise) that are ready for the call at a moment's notice.

After breaking out of his slump in Game One, Ray Allen continued his good play against Brooklyn, scoring 13 points, making three from downtown, and collecting a team high eight rebounds (!!!). Through the attention the Nets have to give Wade and LeBron James, Allen will continue to get good looks from downtown (not to mention, some good screens being set to free him up as well).

For large portions of the game, Chris Bosh was the best player on the court. He was able to alter shots in the paint and kept the Miami offense afloat as they looked to get settled. He doesn't need to do it anymore, but he can still carry a team's offense when necessary. The guy who's normally the best player on the court, LeBron James, didn't dominate, but came away with 22 points. The Nets were able to have a lot of success when James was on the perimeter, holding him to only 2-10 on shots outside of the painted area. When he did get inside, he was impossible to deal with, making seven of his eight field goal attempts inside of eight feet. The strategy of throwing different looks at James will continue tonight, although they hope Teletovic doesn't end up on James again. LeBron has been able to drive to the rim at will every time he's had Mirza guarding him. Paul Pierce has the size to stay with James as he posts up, and figures to be the person assigned to James for much of the evening.

Player to watch: Dwyane Wade

Wade didn't shoot well, but did a bunch of other things to compensate for it. He picked up rebounds and assists as he got his teammates involved and worked well with James on screen plays. When he did look for his shot, Shaun Livingston, Alan Anderson and the rest of the Nets were very physical with him as he drove to the rim.

The good thing about having James, Bosh and a productive Allen along side him is that Wade doesn't have to force the action on offense. He can probe the defense and can take shots he's comfortable with. With that being said, he should look to get in the post more here. He's solid in the post and more effective there than he is shooting jumpers. He and James are unstoppable when they run P&R together, so look for the Heat to get that going.

From the Vault

The Nets have been down 2-0 to the Heat in the playoffs before. Slide on back to 2005 and see how Vince Carter and friends handled it then.


More reading: Hot Hot Hoops

TV Coverage

The Nets are on primetime this Saturday evening. The game will tip off around 8:00 PM and will be airing on ABC. On the radio side, they'll be on WCBS 880 AM. The Yankees and Brewers are playing an EXTREMELY IMPORTANT GAME, in mid May. Right.

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