It has been a tough season for the Nets to say the least, but that hasn't stopped the team from giving it their all every game. After stunning the Cavaliers on Thursday, Brooklyn played the role of spoilers on Saturday defeating the Pacers 120-110.
It took a total team-effort for the Nets to take down the Pacers, and when they win, that has been the common theme of late. Brooklyn was down by as many as 14 points in the game, but fought back in large part due to a big fourth quarter from Brook Lopez. Lopez was just 2-of-11 through three quarters then in the fourth, he caught fire. Lopez had a career high 14 points in the fourth quarter and 23 on the game.
Bojan Bogdanovic had a big night as well. Bogdanovic had 18 points, including a huge three-pointer with 38 seconds left to put Brooklyn up by six, It turned out to be the dagger. Bogdanovic was a +22 which was the best plus-minus ratio on either side. Sergey Karasev was also important, scoring a career high 17 points and grabbing 7 rebounds to go along with four assists.
The Nets now travel to Miami to face off against an old friend Joe Johnson and the Heat. The Nets are 6-9 since agreeing to a buyout with Johnson, while the Heat are 10-4 since acquiring the 34-year-old.
Miami is coming off of a 108-97 win over the Magic on Friday. Hassan Whiteside had 26 points, 12 rebounds and 5 blocks in 29 minutes off the bench. Goran Dragic had a big game for the Heat also, scoring 22 points and gathering 8 assists.
Where to follow the game?
YES Network on TV, WFAN 101.9 FM on radio. Tip off after 7:30 PM.
The Nets are good to go besides Jarrett Jack who's out for the year with a torn ACL.
Miami will be without Tyler Johnson who has a shoulder injury and Chris Bosh who is still dealing with blood clots in his left calf.
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On December 16th, Miami beat Brooklyn 104-98 in Brooklyn. On December 28th, Brooklyn got their revenge beating the Heat 111-105 behind a barrage of three-pointers from Wayne Ellington. On January 26th, Miami beat the Nets 102-98. Miami has a 2-1 lead on the season series heading into tonight's matchup.
Player to watch: Joe Johnson
Who else would you watch? It's the first time Johnson is going up against his former team. It's going to be weird seeing Johnson in a Heat uniform wearing the number 2 and not the number 7. Since joining the Heat, Johnson is averaging 13.6 points, while shooting 52 percent from the field and also 52 percent from three-point territory.
Johnson is looking to rebound from a tough three-game stretch. He has scored a total of 17 points in his last three games after scoring 18 points in a win over the Cavs on Saturday, March 19th. Johnson will surely try to be at the top of his game against his old team -- for whom he's professed the utmost respect.
Any significance for him? Johnson was asked Monday afternoon.
"No," Johnson said. "None at all. Not really. None at all. No significance. I'm not trying to prove nothing to those guys. Man, I'm trying to do what's best for this team. And that's us piling up wins. That's the only thing that matters -- for me, anyway. I have no ulterior motives. Trying to impress by no form or fashion."
Johnson did say he'd be happy to see his coaches and "a lot of my old teammates, definitely."
Heat X-factor: Hassan Whiteside
Whiteside comes off of the Heat bench, but every night he's a difference maker. In his last 10 games, Whiteside is averaging 17.6 points, 12.3 rebounds and 3 blocks, while shooting 60 percent from the field in only 27 minutes of action.
Whiteside has had success in his two games that he's played in versus the Nets this season. Whiteside is averaging 19 points, 12 rebounds and 3 blocks versus Brooklyn this season. Here's highlights from Whiteside's game versus the Nets on December 16th.
Nets X-factor: Sergey Karasev
Karasev is coming off of a career night against the Pacers on Saturday. There were many times where it looked like the Pacers were going to pull away from the Nets, but Brooklyn managed to hang around throughout.
Karasev was one of the few Nets who was playing well on offense in the first half. Karasev's 13 first half points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists were a main reason that Brooklyn only trailed by 6 at the half. Karasev finished the game with 17 points, here's the highlights.
The Nets will need Karasev to have a productive game against the Heat. Normally against Miami, Joe Johnson would play a big role, but now that he's a member of the Heat, Karasev will need to step-up.
From the vault
Joe Johnson had some great times with the Nets, however it was time for both parties to move on. With Johnson being on the Heat, it makes this video perfect. Johnson's performance wasn't enough in this game, but boy what a showing it was from Joe Jesus. Enough talking about it, let's watch Johnson abuse LeBron James.
More reading: Hot Hot Hoops
- Brooklyn Nets Game Notes - Brooklyn Nets
- Miami Heat Game Notes - Miami Heat
- Nets-Heat Preview - AP
- How Nets have come together to make future look brighter - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Years of work and faith lead Kilpatrick to NBA Nets - Nancy Haggerty - Journal-News
- Not much significance for Joe Johnson, facing the Nets - Ethan Skolnick - Miami Herald