BROOKLYN (CBSMiami) – The Brooklyn Nets want to be considered one of the elite teams in the NBA, but they know to do that, they have to do something they haven’t been able to do this season, knock off the Miami Heat.

“They’re the best team in the league until somebody beats them,” said Nets head coach P.J. Carlesimo. “They’re still the champions and they’re still going to the finals on a pretty regular basis, so until somebody knocks them off, this to me is the barometer you measure against.”

The Heat has already beaten the Nets twice this season, but the Nets have been on fire since Carlesimo was promoted to interim coach on December 27. The Nets have gone 13-4, won eight straight home games, and tied a record for most wins in January.

The Heat is coming off its first loss in the last five games after falling Sunday 100-98 in double-overtime to the Boston Celtics. Before that, the Heat had been on fire winning two games on the road and two at home.

Miami Heat superstar LeBron James has been efficient against the Nets in 2012-2013, averaging a double-double per game. Against Brooklyn, James averages 20.5 points on 55.6 percent shooting to go along with 10.5 rebounds and 7.0 assists.

Dwyane Wade, though, has been the offensive star in the season series, averaging 28.0 points and shooting 70.6 percent from the floor in the two victories, both in Miami.

James had 34 points, a season-high 16 rebounds, seven assists and three steals as Miami shot just 40.6 percent – its third-worst mark of the season. Brooklyn has held opponents to 42.4 percent shooting during its eight-game run at home.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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