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The Heat comes to Brooklyn

NBA: Atlanta Hawks at Miami Heat Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

It’s cold and the Nets are colder. Brooklyn played host to the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night and sought to end their ten game losing streak. They forced the game into overtime, but ultimately fell short and lost by four points. The losing streak is up to 11 and they haven’t won a home game since December.

Coming into snowy Brooklyn will be the Miami Heat. After a dreadful start to the season, the Heat have been the hottest team in the NBA. They’re currently on an 12 game winning streak after beating the Bucks in Milwaukee on Wednesday night. If they can keep it up, they might wind up reaching the eighth seed in the Conference standings.

Where to follow the game

YES Network on TV. WFAN 101.9 FM on radio. Tip off after 7:30.


No Jeremy Lin or Quincy Acy.

Dion Waiters didn’t play against the Bucks due to an ankle injury. His status for this one is unknown.

The game

Miami won game one in late January and game two a few days later.

The Heat are in a funny position. They’re going to have to retool/rebuild at some point soon, but they’re close enough to steal an eighth or seventh seed for this year’s playoffs. They’re incredibly well run from top to bottom so I’m sure they’ll have a plan when we reach the trading deadline in two weeks. I saw this quote from Leonard Kriecas of Hot Hot Hoops and it speaks well to what Pat Riley, Erik Spoelstra and em are doing:

The Heat organization continues their excellent reputation on developing players, and become an attractive destination for free agents wanting to revive their careers. What the single-season rentals appreciate most is the possibility of a lucrative contract as free agents. The prospect of large pay increase after a season’s work (Tyler Johnson, Hassan Whiteside) is a big drawing card to spend some time in Miami.

As the Nets try to rebuild, it’s something they can replicate as well.

It was good to see Caris Levert back. The rookie had been out with a minor knee injury, but played 26 minutes in his return on Wednesday. He and Bojan Bogdanovic will be manning the two guard position for Kenny Atkinson and for Bogdanovic, he’s the person that will take the shots if the game is close late.

Goran Dragic will have a little more control of the offense with Waiters less than 100 percent. He does a lot of things well and is a particularly good finisher at the rim for a point guard. He’s shooting 67 percent over his past two games with Waiters out and if Dion has to miss this one as well, he’ll lead the team in shot attempts again. The Nets PG duo of Spencer Dinwiddie and Isaiah Whitehead have had a hectic week having to chase John Wall and Kemba Walker around, but they’ve done well all things considered.

Player to watch: Hassan Whiteside

The franchise is his. With Bosh out (perhaps permanently) and Dwyane Wade elsewhere, Whiteside got a max deal and has done well in his first season as leading man. He’s been more involved in the offense and while his shooting is a bit worse from last season, he’s still shooting 56 percent from the field and has made 74 percent of his shots inside of three feet. He’s also surpassed his entire assist total from last season so he’s got that going for him too. More importantly, he’s still a very good rim protector and one of the league’s best rebounders.

Brook Lopez will be the center of attention for the Nets. He had a great showing the first time he saw Whiteside, but was slowed down in the second half by the Heat. He’s had his fair share of second half struggles this year and it’s cost the Nets a bunch of winnable games. For all of the bad things about this Nets season, they have been competitive more times than not. Maybe some things will go their way in the second half.

From the Vault

On Wednesday, NBA Hall of Famer and Heat legend Alonzo Mourning turned 47 Shout out to him.

And on Saturday, Erykah Badu’s Baduizm turns 20. Shout out to her.

More reading: Hot Hot Hoops