A win is a win, no matter which way you get it ... and this one was the biggest win of the season!
Tuesday night, the Nets were up against the reigning MVP LeBron James and the Miami Heat. Despite the inconsistency early in the season, the Nets have Miami's number. In the three games they had played before Tuesday, the Nets have won all three, two by a point, one in overtime, the last a thrilling 96-95 victory in Miami.
In the fourth and final matchup between the two teams, the Nets completed the season sweep over the Heat with a stirring 88-87 victory. Mason Plumlee blocked LeBron James with three seconds remaining to win the game for the Nets. The Nets are the first team in the "big three" era to sweep the Heat in a four-game season series. In fact, it was the first time in James career that any of his teams were swept in a four-game regular season series.
"You can’t really take time to think, ‘It’s LeBron,’" Plumlee told reporters in Miami. "It’s winning time, so it doesn’t matter if it’s Dwight [Howard], LeBron, whoever. You just have to meet them at the rim."
James also provided the Nets with some bulletin board material, first protesting he had been fouled on the play. Then in the locker room, he was asked by Craig Sager, "Are the Nets your biggest challenge in the East?"
James chuckled, then replied: "Get outta here Craig. Next question." He didn't name which team is the Heat's biggest challenge.
Before things got started, Jason Kidd announced that the Nets would be without Kevin Garnett and Andray Blatche in this one. For the Heat, Dwyane Wade, Udonis Haslem, and Greg Oden were out.
Between great defensive intensity and positive offensive mis-matches, the Nets got off to an incredible start. They led 26-14 after the first quarter, holding the Heat to just 38% from the field. While the Heat struggled to execute, the Nets were shooting 55%, behind the lead of Joe Johnson's seven points on 3-3 shooting. The Heat's 14-first quarter points were the lowest they've scored all season.
The script seemed to flip to end the first half. While the Heat really picked up their offensive flow, the Nets struggled to execute and come up with defensive stops, finishing the half with just a 44-43 lead. The Heat outscored Brooklyn 29-18 in the second quarter.
With Paul Pierce, Joe Johnson, and Deron Williams on the bench most of the second quarter, the second unit as a whole struggled to stop LeBron James, who finished the half leading all scorers with 13 points.
Mirza Teletovic logged quality minutes in the second quarter. He scored eight points in his first nine minutes of action. Leading for the Nets was Joe Johnson who finished the half with 11 points on 5-6 shooting. With Andray Blatche's absence, guys like Mirza Teletovic, Marcus Thornton, and Alan Anderson needed to step up their play in order for the Nets to override the defending champs in the second half.
Quick first half stat: All eight players that received first-half minutes for Brooklyn scored at least one point. Again, we see a balanced scoring attack from Brooklyn.
Coming out of the gate to start the second half, the Nets got off to a decent start. They started with a 7-2 run, but the Heat answered with a 7-1 run of their own. Besides from the Heat being up by as many as three, the third quarter was pretty balanced.The Nets momentum early was ignited off two consecutive shots from Paul Pierce. Unfortunately for Brooklyn, Pierce picked up his fourth foul; which was then followed by a technical foul, shifting the momentum Miami's way.
The score heading into the fourth quarter: Heat 65, Nets 62.
The game stayed at a back and forth pace. The Heat led most of the way through the early stages of the fourth quarter, but failed to pull away from the Nets. A big reason: Marcus Thornton. Whenever the Nets seemed to hit a dry spell on offense or defense, Thornton made a big play. He finished the game with 16 points & four steals. In Sacramento, Thornton was heavily criticized for his defense.
After failing to convert on two free throws, the score was 82-81 in favor of Miami with two minutes remaining.
It was in the midst of a 9-2 run for the Nets, Marcus Thornton hit a clutch contested three, followed by a tough floater from Joe Johnson. The Nets owned a four point lead with under a minute to go.
The Heat cut the deficit down to just one with 30 seconds remaining, when Joe Johnson failed to convert on a three. Down raced the Heat, 10 seconds remaining -- Rashard Lewis passed it off to an open Lebron James down low. It looked like it would be the game winner when LeBron skied towards the hoop with an open lane, just to see Mason Plumlee come up with an incredible block as time expired!
Brooklyn wins yet again against Miami. It's the fourth win versus the reigning NBA champs this season, the first time they've been swept in a season series since the "big three" formed. This would be a very fun series come playoff time.
Final score: Nets 88, Heat 87.
LeBron James led all scorers with 29 points, followed by Joe Johnson's 19. Paul Pierce, Marcus Thornton, and Mirza Teletovic all scored in double digits, helping spark the offense at several points of the game.
The Nets are the 1st team to sweep a team w/ LeBron James in a 4-game regular season series in LeBron's NBA career (via Nets PR, via Elias)— Tom Lorenzo (@TomLorenzo) April 9, 2014
The Nets continue their three game road trip this Wednesday, where the will face off against the Orlando Magic.
For more on the Miami Heat, check them out at Hot Hot Hoops.
- Nets at Heat Boxscore - NBA.com
- Nets vs. Heat (Video) - NBA.com
- 2nd Half Game Thread: Nets at Heat - NetsDaily
- Nets vs. Heat: First Half (Video) - NBA.com
- Plumlee Saves the Day (Video) - NBA.com
- Plumlee Connects With Livingston (Video) - NBA.com
- Rejected by Bosh (Video) - NBA.com
- Smooth Slip Pass (Video) - NBA.com
- Inside Trax: Nets vs. Heat (Video) - NBA.com
- Play of the Day: Mason Plumlee (Video) - NBA.com
- Block of the Night: Mason Plumlee (Video) - NBA.com
- Dunk of the Night: Shaun Livingston (Video) - NBA.com
- Uncharted Territory For Big Three (Video) - ESPN
- Nets Complete Season Sweep Of Heat (Video) - ESPN
- James Scoffs At Rivalry With Nets (Video) - ESPN
- James, Spoelstra react to final play vs. Nets (Video) - FOX Sports
- HIGHLIGHT: Mason Plumlee Dunks On LeBron James - The Brooklyn Game
- GIF: LeBron James is none too happy with the no-call on Mason Plumlee's block - The Brooklyn Game
- GIFs: Here's Multiple Angles Of Mason Plumlee Stuffing LeBron James At The Rim - The Brooklyn Game
- GIF: LeBron James is none too happy with the no-call on Mason Plumlee's block " The Brooklyn Game - The Brooklyn Game
- Mason Plumlee Stuffs LeBron On Buzzer-Beating Dunk Attempt (Slo-Mo Video) - Timothy Burke - Deadspin
- Nets beat Heat, 88-87, to complete sweep of season series - AP
- A Look at the NBA Playoff Picture - AP
- Mason Plumlee blocks LeBron James on final play as Nets sweep Heat - Stefan Bondy - New York Daily News
- LeBron James right to cry foul as referees reject him in Heat's loss to Nets - Mitch Lawrence - New York Daily News
- Nets Sweep Heat as Plumlee Blocks James’s Dunk in Final Seconds - Andrew Keh - New York Times
- Nets hold off LeBron, Heat, 88-87, for season sweep - Tim Bontemps - New York Post
- LeBron would be ‘surprised’ if Calipari jumped to NBA - Tim Bontemps - New York Post
- Nets beat the Heat for the fourth time this season, 88-87 - Andy Vasquez - The Record
- Nets notes: LeBron James thinks John Calipari won't coach in NBA - Andy Vasquez - The Record
- Rapid Reaction: Nets 88, Heat 87 - Mike Mazzeo - ESPN New York Daily Dime: Sweep sensation for Nets - Brian Windhorst - ESPN
- Poll: Nets a legit threat to Heat in the playoffs? - ESPN
- LeBron James of Miami Heat says scrutiny of Indiana Pacers doesn't compare to 2011 - Tom Haberstroh - ESPN
- Final Score: Nets 88, Heat 87 - Brian Erni - SNY Nets
- Nets sweep up defending champion Heat - Rod Boone - Newsday
- Nets-Heat game ends in controversy after LeBron James got rejected at the rim - Nate Scott - USA Today
- Mason Plumlee blocks LeBron James on final possession to save Nets win vs. Heat - Eric Freeman - Yahoo! Sports
- HEATSWEPT: Nets 88, Heat 87 (GAME GRADES) - Devin Kharpertian - The Brooklyn Game
- Professor Plum, In The Paint, With The Swat - Devin Kharpertian - The Brooklyn Game
- Plumlee Blocks James as Nets Sweep Heat - Lenn Robbins - Brooklyn Nets
- Kidd faces tough choices come playoff time - Gregory Hrinya - Examiner
- Brooklyn Nets complete regular-season sweep of Miami Heat - Joseph Goodman - Miami Herald
- Miami Heat, Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James take on Brooklyn Nets - Ira Winderman - South Florida Sun-Sentinel
- Ira Winderman on Brooklyn Nets at Miami Heat - South Florida Sun-Sentinel