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Nets blow an 18-point lead and lose to Miami, 109-106

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NBA: Miami Heat at Brooklyn Nets Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

BROOKLYN, N.Y. -- Bad teams find ways to lose games, and boy did the Nets find several ways to lose this one.

The Miami Heat (16-30), winners of five straight and the latest team to take down to Golden State Warriors, came into Brooklyn feeling good. The Nets (9-36), however, were feeling pretty good for three quarters and tried to cool off the scorching Heat, but failed, and lost 109-106, on Pride Night, Wednesday at Barclays Center.

The Heat outscored the Nets 38-17 in the fourth quarter and Brook Lopez was held to just two points (0-for-5 shooting) after scoring 31 in the first three quarters.

“As the leader, I’ve got to do a better job of keeping us in our flow in the offense and doing what got us there,” Lopez said after the game.

Caris LeVert who scored 12 points and had his first ankle breaker against Wayne Ellingotn —but a late game turnover— said appreciated the chance to play.

"I'm a young guy so to get that kind of trust in the coach is big. I have to be better with the turnover but it's big for me,” he said.

Was it a simple case of poor execution, the coach was asked.

“I felt like we weren’t get him [Brook Lopez] the ball in a good place and again our execution wasn’t great,” Kenny Atkinson said. “And then he feels like he’s going to do it himself and then he’s got the ball in a bad position, so we need to do a better job there executing. And it wasn’t just the end of the game — I felt like it started to go south in the beginning of the fourth quarter, and that’s kind of where they made their run.”

"We gave ourselves a chance for 40 minutes tonight, but it's a 48 minute game. We got away from what we were doing,” added Lopez.

Talk about a crazy, disappointing game for the Nets…

Brook Lopez opened up the game scoring 16 of Brooklyn’s first 17 points after nailing four 3-pointer in the span of seven minutes. He later hit a career-high six in the second quarter and put Brooklyn up 66-55 at the half, following a 36-21 advantage in the second quarter.

Lopez finished the night with 33 points on 7-of-14 shooting from 3-point. However, he was held to just two points in the fourth quarter and five total in the second half when the Nets needed him most.

The Nets are one of the league’s worst defensive teams, but Wednesday was a different story. After dropping 34 in the first quarter, the Heat followed up with a 21-point second quarter and a 16-point third quarter. For the Nets, that’s huge progress (in the process) and they led, 89-71.

Don’t let this the fool you, though.

The Heat opened up the quarter on a 10-1 run and trailed by nine midway through the fourth, and then seven, then five, and eventually three with 2:53 remaining.

With 2:16 minutes left in the game, former Net Wayne Ellington tied the game up at 99 apiece.

He capped off a 15-2 run, and suddenly the 18-point lead had vanished. Once again, the Nets had to finish out a game that should not have been as close as it was. They were held scoreless from the 5:33 mark up until the 1:14 mark when Caris LeVert was fouled and put Brooklyn up by two.

* Sigh of relief *

Okaro White, A D-League call-up, then hit a 3-pointer to put Miami up by one. On the following possession – the most important shot of the game – Spencer Dinwiddie air-balled a 3-pointer.

* Sigh of plain disgust *

The Heat took a 3-point lead at the free throw line. Then, Trevor Booker converted on the next possession. So, down by one, the Heat went to their hot hand, Dion Waiters, who nailed the dagger 3-pointer to put the nail in the coffin.

Chants of “MVP” and “LETS GO HEAT” rained down from the Barclays Center crowd.

The Nets contained Hassan Whiteside to just seven points and one rebound. Still, Dion Waiters carried the team with 24 points and eight assists, while Wayne Ellington chipped in 22 off the bench. He averaged 7.7 points with the Nets last season.

For the Nets, Bojan Bogdanovic scored 17 and Caris LeVert chipped in 12 off the bench.

There have been plenty of deflating games for the Nets this season, but none more than this one. So, how do they stay positive?

“Trust the process,” said Caris LeVert.

*******

Next up: @ Cleveland, Friday 7:30pm.

For more post-game audio, click here.