Strong Second Half Secures Heat Victory Over Nets, 105-85
NEW YORK (AP) — LeBron James had 24 points, nine rebounds and seven assists, and the Miami Heat blew out Brooklyn in the second half for a 105-85 victory Wednesday night, their 13th in a row over the Nets.
Dwyane Wade added 21 points and Chris Bosh had 16 for the Heat, who outscored the Nets 56-36 in the second half after it was tied at halftime.
In their first game since falling in double overtime Sunday at Boston, the Heat made sure this would be a much easier night. James, Wade and Bosh were all on the bench long before the end, andMiami shot 52 percent from the field and made 11 of 19 3-pointers.
Brook Lopez, chosen to his first All-Star team Wednesday, scored 21 points for the Nets, who had their eight-game home winning streak snapped. They fought back from a tough start to briefly take a third-quarter lead before James led the onslaught that sapped the energy from what had been a lively crowd for the nationally televised game.
Playing for the first time since visiting the White House on Monday, the Heat looked plenty capable of getting invited back next year. Just a 10-10 team on the road when they arrived in Brooklyn, the Heat were nearly flawless offensively and defensively in the third quarter and outscored the Nets 36-14.
Andray Blatche hit all five shots and scored 12 points for the Nets. Deron Williams, battling the flu, was held to nine points and five assists, while Joe Johnson shot just 4 of 15 for his 16 points.
Already routed twice in Miami this season, the Nets tried to talk tough, Reggie Evans downplaying the Heat’s title and James’ talent in comments to the Daily News earlier Wednesday.
It takes more than talk to beat the Heat.
Johnson’s jumper gave Brooklyn a 55-53 lead with 9:18 remaining in the third quarter, but the Heatoverwhelmed with an awesome display of attacking over the next few minutes.
Wade made a jumper and James hit a 3-pointer to give Miami the lead for good, the start of a 26-5 run that featured the Heat at their best, James slamming down a lob from Wade on one possession and burying a 3-pointer in transition on the next.
The Nets completely wilted under the Heat’s pressure, letting guard Mario Chalmers grab an offensive rebound while seated on the court, and throwing one inbounds pass away when there was no Miami player anywhere near to apply pressure.
Chalmers’ basket ended a run of six straight points and made it 79-60, and the Heat lead was 85-63 after three.
The Nets were trying to tie a franchise record with their 12th win of the month, and now will face a tough start to February when they host Chicago on Friday and the Lakers next Tuesday.
Brooklyn has been a different team since P.J. Carlesimo replaced Avery Johnson in late December. The Heat said they’ve noticed little change in the Nets’ scheme but plenty in their effort, James essentially saying it was too bad Johnson had to take the fall for the Nets not wanting to play harder earlier.
The effort was there Wednesday. It wasn’t nearly enough.
James loudly made his entrance, screaming “He here!” as he entered the locker room. The Nets made their pitch to him three summers ago in free agency, and haven’t beaten him since he decided on Miami instead.
Miami hit seven of its first 10 shots, led 30-20 after one quarter, and was up by 12 with 7½ minutes left in the first half. But the Nets got much tougher defensively, getting some help when the Heatgot sloppy and started turning it over and missing free throws, including three in a row by James and Wade. Blatche hit all five shots in the second, Lopez added six points, and the Nets came all the way back to even it at 49 when Williams made a jumper with 2.3 seconds remaining.
The Heat had just about all the highlights from there, a brief “Lets’ go Heat!” chant even breaking out in the second half.
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