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Adios Mexico: Nets struggle in the 2nd half and fall to Heat, 101-89

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NBA: Miami Heat at Brooklyn Nets Jose Mendez-USA TODAY Sports

Adios Mexico.

In the final game of the two-game mini trip in Mexico, the Miami Heat (12-13) defeated the Brooklyn Nets (10-15), 101-89. The Nets will return home and play the next five of six games in Brooklyn with reinforcements on the way.

With Hassan Whiteside sidelined due to a knee injury, the Nets attacked the hole at will and saw most of their success inside the paint. Both teams failed to score any transition buckets in the first half, likely due to fatigue caused by the 7,400 foot altitude. Tyler Johnson shot 7-of-9 in the first half and kept Miami within three at half.

The Heat began to pull away in the fourth quarter. They forced a few early turnovers and increased their lead to 10 with 8:18 remaining. Two games in these conditions didn’t bode well for Brooklyn who were noticeably fatigued late in this game.

Miami held the Nets to just 36 points in the second half, their lowest total of the season.

Down 10 with a little less than five minutes left, the Nets came up with a few stops and Spencer Dinwiddie nailed two 3-pointers to cut this thing down to four. However, Miami scored six straight points and put it away with 1:23 remaining.

Miami swarmed Brooklyn at the 3-point line and forced them into tough shots. The Nets shot 7-of-27 from 3-point and scored most of their points inside the paint.

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson finished with 18 points and eight rebounds, backed up by a 15-point, nine-assist night from Dinwiddie. Dinwiddie extended his streak of six or more assists to 12 games, which is the NBA’s second longest streak behind James Harden. However, he had an uncharacteristic four turnovers.

For Miami, Johnson and Goran Dragic each had 20 points apiece. They shot 8-of-27 from 3-point, but turned the ball over just five times which enabled them to take nine more shots.

“We trained all summer for it, to be in the best shape, to be one of the best-in-shape teams. So hopefully it’ll affect them more than it affects us,” said DeMarre Carroll at the beginning of the trip. Like Brooklyn, Miami focuses heavily on conditioning, but as Sarah Kustok said, the Nets performance team noted an extended stay at a high altitude — in the Nets case, four days— doesn’t necessarily provide an advantage over team like Miami who just arrived. Carroll shot just 2-of-10 on the night.

INJURY REPORT:

D’Angelo Russell (knee) and Jeremy Lin (out for season). Although he was declared available just before game time, Joe Harris (illness) did not play. The Nets also decided to keep Jahlil Okafor and Nik Stauskas in Brooklyn rather than send them to Mexico City.

Hassan Whiteside (knee).

***

That wraps up the Mexico City games. They’ll be back in Brooklyn, Tuesday against the Washington Wizards. All in all, it could’ve been worse. They competed, as they have through the first 25 games of the season. At 10-15, the Nets have won 40 percent of their games, which projects to 33 games.

For a different perspective, head over to Hot Hot Hoops.