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Nets begin New Year's road trip in Miami

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Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Back on the road again. The Brooklyn Nets closed out 2015 at Barclays Center with a fourth quarter collapse and lost 111-96 to the Washington Wizards on Saturday evening. Tonight is the first game of a three game road trip that'll bring the Nets into 2016.

Waiting for Brooklyn will be the Miami Heat. With the upgraded roster, the Heat are expected to make a deep run in the playoffs. They've done well so far this year and are third in the East. Their last game was on Saturday, a 108-101 win against the Magic in Orlando. They've won three out of their last four games. This is the first night of a back-to-back. The second half (and fourth game in five nights) is tomorrow against the Grizzlies in Memphis.

Where to follow the game

YES Network for TV, WCBS 880 AM on the radio. Tip off is after 7:30.

Injuries

Nothing new for the Nets.

Josh McRoberts has been out since November 10 with a knee injury. He won't be playing tonight. Tyler Johnson has been bothered by an injured shoulder recently, but hopes to return to action this evening. Goran Dragic sprained his wrist last week, but he'll be on the court.

The game

2015-2016

Brooklyn

Miami

Record

8-22 17-11

Pace

98.04 95.33

Offensive Efficiency

98.1 102

Defensive Efficiency

104.7 97.8

Turnover Rate

15.4 14.9

Assist Rate

16.4 15.9

Offensive Rebounding Rate

24.7 21.4

Rebound Rate

50.8 50.7

Free Throw Rate

21.9 30

Effective Field Goal Percentage

47.9 50.4

Opponent's Effective Field Goal Percentage

52.4 47.6

The Heat won the first game earlier this month. Late game execution will be something to keep an eye on here. Last time these two teams played, there was a mix-up as to whether or not the Nets should've fouled late in the game. Lionel Hollins claimed he gave instructions to foul, but every Net asked said that wasn't the case. When you're struggling and near the bottom of the Conference, you can't afford to make mistakes like that.

Miami has been one of the best defensive teams in the league this season, and surprisingly, they're even better when Hassan Whiteside is on the bench. Although Whiteside leads the league in blocks, the Heat are allowing 102.1 points per 100 possessions when he's on the court, four points higher than what they allow on the season. It's an interesting dynamic, and how Whiteside does against Brook Lopez tonight will play a major role in the outcome. Lopez got the best of their first encounter and will be counted on for 20+ points again. If he can get Whiteside in foul trouble, he can force Erik Spoelstra into using Amar'e Stoudemire. I forgot he was still in the league.

When you play Bojan Bogdanovic and get him the ball, good things will happen. He'll be matched up with Dwyane Wade and his old man game. Wade isn't the dynamic player he was during Miami's Championship runs, but he still manages to be effective and is Miami's go-to option late. Over at Hot Hot Hoops, Leonard Kreicas made a great observation about Wade:

His floater is an especially effective tool, since defenders cannot tell if it's a shot or a pass to a rolling Whiteside, Chris BoshGerald GreenLuol Deng,Tyler Johnson, or even Justise Winslow. The mechanics are exactly the same for both and its success depends freezing the defenders into difficult choices and on communication between his own teammates.

Kobe Bryant never developed the mindset to become a facilitator in his sunset years, so his physical decline was painfully obvious. Dwyane Wade proved his ability to work alongside Shaquille O'Neal and LeBron James, so he can adapt to whatever the situation demands and his body tells him.

With the schedule being what it is, I wouldn't be surprised if Wade plays under 30 minutes tonight.

Player to watch: Chris Bosh

On the ESPN broadcast vs the Pelicans Friday afternoon, Kara Lawson said that she believes Chris Bosh is a future Hall of Famer. There were a few scoffs at the mention online, but when you look at it, he's a sure bet to get in. He was a major contributor to two NBA championships and also an Olympic Gold Medal, is a constant presence at the All Star Game, and has been able to constantly adapt his game to fit exactly what his team needs. Bosh is on the receiving end of a lot of jokes (and a bunch of those jokes are truly terrible and offensive)

This year has been more of the same for Big Shot Bosh. He's averaging 18 points and eight rebounds a night while continuing to be a steady and reliable option from three point range. He's a good scorer on the inside, but is absolutely lethal when used in pick and rolls. He's been Miami's best player since Bron left and will be the key to their Championship aspirations.

Bosh will be matched up with another lefty power forward, Thaddeus Young. Thad has been one of the few bright spots in Brooklyn this year, and is a lock to get a double-double every game. He's one of the team's few consistent options, and even if he's not making shots, he'll be working hard on the glass. The Nets have been dreadful defending P&Rs so look for Bosh and Dragic to live off that tonight. Bosh had one of his worst shooting games of the year the first time he played the Nets, so he'll be looking to make up for it in a major way. When the Heat put Bosh at center, there's a chance his former teammate Andrea Bargnani will be defending him. That won't end well for Brooklyn.

From the Vault

This year's batch of Christmas Day games weren't the greatest we've ever seen. In one of the Heat's recent Christmas games, we were treated to a duel between the two best players in the league.

More reading: Hot Hot Hoops