MIAMI — Faced with a must-win game, the Nets beat the Heat to win.
Plagued by their worst losing streak of the season, the Nets put on their biggest gut check of the year, beating the Heat by 33 points in the second half with a 129-100 win at Miami-Dade Arena.
The Nets trailed by a whopping 14 points in the first half and were still trailing by 12 with just over two minutes left until halftime. But they took a break and he went 44-11 in overtime to beat the Heat.
The win put the Nets (40-34) half a game ahead of Miami and returned to the sixth and final guaranteed playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Considering where the Nets last stepped into this arena, such a result is shocking.
Before defeating Miami on Jan. 8, the Nets won 18 of 20 games, half a game behind the NBA-record Celtics. But Kevin Durant sprained his right MCL that day in South Florida, and the butterfly effect is still being felt throughout the league.
Durant never played for the Nets again, Kyrie Irving then traded him out, and Durant was subsequently disposed of as well. But on Saturday, two players returning from Phoenix for Durant helped the Nets snap a five-game skid. It’s the worst since last season’s 11-game losing streak from January 23rd to February 12th.
Michal Bridges had a game-high 27 points and seven assists, while Cam Johnson went 5-8 on 3-pointers for 23 points.
“Give it your all to win and stay with us all the way through the course. Keep it and you’ll be fine.
“I see it. We watch basketball. I see it. It pops up even if you don’t want to see it. I think every game counts. Like every game counts since the trade happened. Once.” Take one game to the next.Go out and play hard and try to get everything you can get.”
What they got was a win over the Heat (40-35), who had won seven of their last ten games.
Before their skid, the Nets were in fifth place and held a three-game lead in the Heat. They then fell under both the Knicks and Miami in horrible play-ins. At least until Saturday night.
The Nets got off to a sieve start, with the Heat shooting 13-16 in the first quarter and going 6-7 from deep. Somehow they trailed by just 8.
It was 51-37 after hitting the first nine shots and finishing with 23 after a Max Strass layup. With 2:35 remaining, it was 64-52 after Bam Adebayo dunked off Jimmy Butler’s feed. The Nets took over.
The Nets closed out the half with a 13-5 run, giving them the momentum they needed for the game-winning Blitz.
The net mounted an extended 44-11 run. After failing to stop the Heat early, they held Miami to 4-for-18 shooting, including a 1-of-7 from behind the arc.
A sudden strong defense finally allowed the Nets to get out and run. They got clean looks in transition and early offense. They were 17-23 from the floor and 9-13 from deep.
Spencer Dinwiddie’s floater (15 points, 9 assists, 7 boards) made it 96-75 with 3:58 left in the third quarter.
In the 4th inning, the lead was extended to 32 points.