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Russell benched as Nets pick up victory against Miami in OT

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Final: 110-109

NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Miami Heat Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Heat could have clinched the playoffs with a win, but the Brooklyn Nets weren’t going to be their victim. Instead, the Nets took their talents to South Beach and defeated the Heat in overtime, 110-109.

It was yet another seesaw battle for the Nets late. They scored just three points in the final 4:07 of the fourth – shooting just 1-of-7 during that span. Tied at 101 apiece, Dinwiddie had a chance on an isolation matchup with Dwayne Wade. He missed, with 1.7 seconds.

On to OT.

The Nets had yet to win an overtime game this season and trailed 109-108 with 41 seconds left. Caris LeVert isolated against Wade and finished what would be the game-winning bucket with 34 seconds left.

The Nets made a stop but turned the ball over in a mid-court scrum, leading to all-out chaos down the stretch. Wade got the ball with 4.1 seconds left and just barely missed a layup as DeMarre Carroll stepped between him and the basket. Time expired. Nets win.

LeVert had a huge night. After his alma mater made the National Championship, the Michigan grad finished with a near triple-double: 19 points, 12 rebounds and seven rebounds. Playing point was Spencer Dinwiddie, who finished with 12 points and 12 assists.

Hollis-Jefferson also played his heart out – diving for loose balls and doing the gritty things that don’t show in the box score. They do not get this win without him. He finished with 20 points and 14 rebounds in 39 minutes.

While the game was a nail-biter and a big win, the game story revolved around D’Angelo Russell.

With 5:27 left in the first, Russell took (and missed) a pull-up jumper and then turned it over on the ensuing possession. Kenny Atkinson sat him. He didn’t play for the rest of the night, finishing 0-of-5 from the field with no points and two turnovers.

It wasn’t an injury or anything like that. YES cameras showed him at the end of the bench having a lengthy conversation with trainer Lloyd Beckett that seemed more therapeutic than diagnostic.

Not surprisingly, Atkinson dismissed any hint of controversy.

“I felt like those other guys came in and started to play great [Caris & Spencer]. You just go with it as a coach. It was just a feel,” Atkinson said of the benching.

Atkinson was then asked if he was worried about Russell’s reaction.

“No. He was great on the bench, great in the locker room. One day it’s him, one day it’s DeMarre, it’s just the way it is. D’Angelo will get back on the horse tomorrow, start tomorrow.”

And that was that. Don’t expect more. Move along, nothing to see here.

Dinwiddie started the second half over DLo and helped the Nets take a four-point lead entering the fourth, following a 32-21 advantage in the third. Dinwiddie ran the show and when he subbed out, LeVert took over the point.

It was close... again.

Indeed, it proved to be true. The Nets have won two straight and are now 25-51 on the season. No moral victory tonight. Just a balanced attack and late surge from the opponent in which they didn’t fully collapse.

BLOODY BRAWL

As AP reported, there were bodies everywhere as very big got physical

Wade’s right arm was aching postgame, from his shoulder to his wrist, after taking an array of hits. Hollis-Jefferson needed stitches to close a cut near his left eye, a souvenir from a wild final few seconds that saw bodies flying everywhere. Tempers flared on both sides, and the Heat expect the NBA to tell them Sunday that some calls were missed.

Been there, done that.

LEVERT, ALLEN ONLY TRUE ‘CORNERSTONES’ RIGHT NOW? NAH!

Based on how Kenny Atkinson and Sean Marks have spoken, it seems more than clear that Caris LeVert and Jarrett Allen fit the vision in place the most of the young core. Both LeVert and Allen are both Marksmen — Marks’ only picks taken in the first round since he landed the Nets job.

This is no knock on the other young players on the team. It’s more a hat tip to LeVert and Allen and how far ahead Markinson think they really are. Regardless, they all have a lot to prove.

NETS WIN SERIES AGAINST HEAT, MAGIC

For the first time since 2013-14, when they swept the Heat in 2013-14, the Nets won a season series against the Heat, winning three out of the four games this season. This followed the Nets win over the Magic three days ago, which clinched their season series against the NBA’s other NBA team.

Little things mean a lot.

ANOTHER THREE POINT RECORD FALLS

Joe Harris was only 1-of-4 from three but that one was No. 116 this season, breaking Mirza Teletovic’s single season record for 3-pointers in a season. Of course, Allen Crabbe broke Deron Williams’ record for total three pointers in a season a week ago.

MEANWHILE IN THE HEAT LOCKER ROOM...

Contrast the Nets locker room with the Heat’s tonight. While Atkinson dismissed any controversy over what was obviously a disconnect between him and Russell, Erik Spoelstra was faced with Hassan Whiteside angrily demanding why he isn’t getting minutes in the fourth quarter when the Heat go small.

Specifically, here’s what Whiteside told reporters...

“Why we matching up? We got one of the best centers in the league. Why we matching up? A lot of teams don’t have a good center. They’re going to use their strength.

”It’s bull---. It’s really bull---, man, There’s a lot of teams that could use a center. S---. That’s bull---.”

And here’s what Russell told reporters... Nothing, nada, zip, zero.

So, in the end, the Nets win and their minutes “controversy” gets buried while the Heat lose, fail to clinch the playoffs and their minutes “controversy” explodes.

Contrast much?

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