The Brooklyn Nets got off to a poor start this season with a loss against Cleveland on Wednesday, but they made a big statement two days later as they beat the Miami Heat 101-100 at the Barclays Center Friday night.
“It was exciting,” Brook Lopez said. “Thrilling. I just applaud the team effort. Everyone contributed tonight and everyone was ready to go.”
It was a back-and-forth game all the way through, but the Nets grabbed an 11-point lead with just five minutes to go and it looked like they had reached a turning point when Pierce blocked a LeBron James shot with authority. Except the Heat wouldn’t go away and the two teams literally battled together to the final seconds.
“We were just relentless down the stretch, coming up with the big plays, getting big stops and we were able to capitalize on free throws at the end of the game,” Joe Johnson said.
The Nets got off to a nice 27-18 lead in the first behind a strong quarter from Brook Lopez, who had seven points, three rebounds and a steal, and six points off the bench from Jason Terry, who hit a couple of threes. The Nets also held the Heat to just 33.3 percent shooting while they shot 62.5 percent.
In the second quarter the Heat caught up though, as they tend to do, when they shot 64.7 percent as a team and Dwyane Wade dropped eight points. The Nets did alright for themselves, but when the bench came out the team struggled as they shot just 2-of-6 as a unit. By halftime it was tied at 47-47.
The Nets overcame their usual weak third quarter when Lopez got into foul trouble. Andray Blatche entered the game, overcame his first half struggles, and scored six points in a couple of minutes to lead the Nets in a rally. Paul Pierce also shined in the third with 11 points and three assists to lead the Nets to a 31-20 quarter.