The Miami Heat welcome the New Jersey Nets to the American Airlines Arena in South Florida tonight. They've lost two straight on the heels of a nine game winning streak, and look to begin another. The Heat are 15-2 at home, while the Nets are 9-13 on the road. Miami is playing in the first game of a three game homestand. They host the Atlanta Hawks tomorrow night and the Indiana Pacers on Saturday.
The Nets are finishing up a four game roadtrip. They beat the Dallas Mavericks 93-92, lost to the Boston Celtics, 107-94 and beat the Charlotte Bobcats, 104-101 on Sunday. They return home to face the Los Angeles Clippers tomorrow night.
This is the second of three matchups between the Eastern Conference rivals this season. The two haven't faced each other since a 101-90 Heat victory over the Nets in Miami on January 7th. LeBron James led the Heat with 32 points, nine assists and seven rebounds as Dwyane Wade sat with an injured foot. Chris Bosh added 16, and Udonis Haslem added a double dozen, scoring 12 and grabbing 12 boards. Kris Humphries scored 25 with 12 rebounds in the Nets loss. Net's coach Avery Johnson compared LeBron James to a football player after the game,
"[James] is a combination of a tight end, wide receiver [and] running back once he gets two or three steps on you. That is why we've got to take care of the ball. ... We got some continuity stuff and some shots, but we can't live on shooting 33 percent from the field."
Miami vs New Jersey NBA Highlights 01/07/2012 (via bballfansite)
The Heat lost to the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday in their last game action. LeBron James led Miami with 25 points, 13 rebounds, seven assists, three steals and two blocks. Dwyane Wade scored 16 with five assists and four rebounds, fouling out down the stretch. Mario Chalmers scored 15, including 4-of-8 from beyond the arc. Kobe Bryant paced the Lakers with 33, Metta World Peace scored 17 with seven rebounds, Andrew Bynum added 16 with 13 rebounds, and Pau Gasol also added a double double, with 11 points and 10 boards. Heat Coach Erik Spoelstra remarked about the improved Lakers afterwards,
"We weren't as efficient as we normally are. But, you have to give them credit, they've improved defensively and they did a good job pounding and continuing to use their size at the rim."
NBA Miami Heat Vs LA Lakers Highlights Mar 4, 2012 Game Recap (via TheNBAIndia)
Deron Williams scored an NBA season high 57 points on 16-of-29 shooting with six rebounds and seven assists in the victory over Charlotte on Sunday. Corey Maggette led five Bobcats with 24 points and seven rebounds in the loss for Charlotte. Nets coach Avery Johnson stated Williams importance to the Nets success before the game,
"I think we're a much better team when Deron's aggressive. We're going to be a much better team not only when Brook (Lopez) scores but when Deron scores the basketball."
[NBA] New Jersey Nets Vs Charlotte Bobcats Game Highlights (4th March 2012) (via NBAorbit)
Miami Heat: 28-9, first Southeast Division, second Eastern Conference, third in the NBA, on pace for 50-16, Last five: W-W-W-L-L
New Jersey Nets: 12-26, tied for fourth Atlantic Division, tied for 11th, tied for 24th in the NBA, on pace for 21-43, Last five, W-L-W-L-W